By Paul Night
MOYO DISTRICT- As the world’s youngest nation marks its Seventh-year anniversary today 9th July 2018; the refugees at Palorinya Refugee settlement in Moyo district are urging the two rival leaders of South Sudan to intensify their reconciliation efforts to respect Khartoum deceleration as the talks was supposed to round up to the 10th-july 2018 but extended to 12th july 2018 due to some outstanding issues not yet agreed on said the Sudanese foreign minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed on Sunday yesterday and the ongoing talks in Kampala Uganda led by Kaguta Museveni the Ugandan president.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his opponent Dr Riek Machar agreed held talks in the Sudanese capital Khartoum recently to a permanent ceasefire to take effect within 72 hours this has raise hope for Refugees to end the devastating civil war which broke out in 2013 all though reports of ethnic clashes and the postponements of our independence celebration yet again surface for the third time was announced by the cabinet minister Elia Martin Lomoro following their cabinet meeting this Friday in Juba, what shame to the country that our independence continued to be threatened by our very leaders we placed our hopes on them as many of the refugees lamented.
Johnson Wani, 24 years old refugee said the peace agreement between the two leaders has raised some hope on the face of refugees in the settlement. “We are so happy to hear our leaders shared talks to restore peace in our country. After reaching the settlement I feel very happy to see children of Uganda live in peace like this”, “We appeal to our leaders and forces to stop fighting and we are too young to see blood and bullets. Let us have peace and harmony and love”, Wani said
Kiden Rosemary, a refugee at Pasu Zone in Palorinya who sales food items in Moyo Town said there is still doubts whether peace will return to her Country since there is ongoing violence throughout the country causing deep worries. “The latest ceasefire was violated hours after it began with the government and armed opposition trading blame to each other”, Kiden said
She added that the previous ceasefire in December, 2016 was violated within hours as well, prompting a new push by the international community to threaten UN and regional sanctions against those blocking the highway for growth of peace.“For those who make it out of the country, the journey is treacherous and harsh. Sixty-five per cent of those fleeing are children under the age of 18 and it’s hard to imagine how many of them have managed to walk for days or even weeks barefooted, without much food or water and in constant fear,” Kiden said.
Joseph Duku, 69 years said a political will and flow of information are key actions needed to realize the success of the permanent ceasefire that was signed by the two leaders in Khartoum recently. “I really welcome the signing of the peace deal called Khartoum declaration. It is upon to the principals to ensure the signed peace deals are successful implemented by the involved stakeholders”, Duku said.
South Sudan’s civil war has killed tens of thousands and created Africa’s largest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Both sides have been accused of abuses including gang rapes, some along ethnic lines.
Despite the ceasefire deal signed nearly a year ago, which provided renewed hopes for South Sudanese, the ongoing fighting continues to force hundreds of people to flee to neighboring countries each day in search of safety.
The previous agreement that saw the fighting parties of President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar, working together under Inter Government (IGAD) Authority for Development had brought a little sense of national optimism, peace and stability. However, uncertainties of lasting peace persist in the countryside with many seeking refuge beyond their borders.
The South Sudan’s fighting has also fostered worsening conditions that have left an estimated 4.8 million people in dire need of food.
Key issues to be noted
Displacement Figures: Since December 2013, more than 10,000 civilians were killed. More than 2.3 million people are displaced.
Children affected by South Sudan Crisis: According to UNICEF, more than 16,000 children who have recruited by armed groups also need to reintegrate back into their communities. More than one-third of children are denied schooling.
Food Crisis Figures: Since the beginning of 2016, more than 100,000 children have been treated for malnutrition. This is a 40% increase compared to the same period last year, and 150% since 2014. – 4.8 million South Sudanese face severe food shortages in the coming months, up from 4.3 million in April. This is the highest level of hunger since the conflict started in South Sudan in December 2013 and July 2016.
Funding Shortfall: Only 39% of the required emergency funding identified by the UN has been provided by international governments, institutions and others.
As it stands now, many of the areas of disagreement has been reached in the days and weeks of talks in Khartoum and Kampala as of Friday with the parties agreeing on the power sharing deal allowing Dr Riak Machar assuming his position as the Countries first vice president among other issues which is yet to be finalized in Sudan by the end of this week on Thursday, the real question that hangs the minds of many South Sudanese is, will this peace deal almost reached by all parties hold? Or it’s just another face make up painting the faces of the suffering and vulnerable populations just as what we all witnessed in july 2016 subsequently and the violation of ceasefire almost a year ago when the revitalization process was initiated by the IGAD and the international bodies? South Sudanese and the world is watching what we term as the hope where there is none.