President Jacob Zuma has shown deep concern over the incessant killings in South Sudan caused by the unending internal crisis in the country.
President Zuma who just returned from Kigali‚ Rwanda‚ where he attended the African Union (AU) Summit, called on African leaders to help South Sudan find a solution to its conflict.
Its no news that while the situation in Somalia remains fragile, the political unrest in South Sudan has caused much more sleepless nights to most African leaders including President Jacob Zuma.
The Presidency said Zuma attended an urgent meeting of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to trash out conflicting issues in the between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)-in-Government led by President Salva Kiir and the SPLM-in-Opposition led by Vice President Riek Machar.
The conflict in South Sudan began on the evening of Sunday, 15 December 2013, at the meeting of the National Liberation Council at Nyakuron, when opposition leaders Dr. Riek Machar, Pagan Amum and Rebecca Nyandeng voted to boycott the meeting.
The conflict which has so far led to the massive death of numerous civilian casualties, began when the Dinka elements of the SPLM began targeting Nuer civilians in the capital city of Juba.
However, Zuma alongside representatives who attended the IGAD meeting, agreed that the conflict cannot be allowed to continue and that African leaders should ensure that the peace process and the people of South Sudan are protected.
It was further decided that the two rival military forces should be separated and disarmed‚ the Presidency disclosed on Tuesday,
“As the youngest country on the continent‚ we should continue to assist South Sudan in nation building‚” said Zuma, adding that the issue of South Sudan was a priority for South Africa partly because the SPLM had been very close to the ANC and other former liberation movements on the continent.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa who is also the president’s Special Envoy to South Sudan and SA, joined in the AU High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP)‚ which works closely with IGAD.
A shaky ceasefire has held since late on Monday after fighting raged for four days in the capital Juba‚ forcing 40,000 people to flee their homes.
International bodies like the UN also feels concerned about the conflict. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently described the conflict in South Sudan as reaching a “critical stage” needing prompt action.