Kiir re­fuses to set ‘bad prece­dent’ by quit­ting

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD - MEL FRYKBERG

THE PRES­I­DENT of South Su­dan, Salva Kiir, has warned he won’t be forced to step down while one of his ad­vis­ers, Tor Deng Maw­ien, said if this hap­pened the world’s new­est coun­try would dis­in­te­grate.

Maw­ien, the pres­i­den­tial ad­viser on de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion and in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal link­ages, said only the path of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion could “guar­an­tee se­cu­rity, unity and peace­ful co-ex­is­tence of our peo­ple, not fight­ing and cam­paign­ing to change the cur­rent gov­ern­ment by force”.

His comments fol­lowed Kiir last week vow­ing never to give in to mil­i­tary force to re­lin­quish his po­si­tion, in­sist­ing it would set a bad prece­dent for the war-torn na­tion.

Civil war has plagued South Su­dan since De­cem­ber 2013 as Kiir, and his former vice-pres­i­dent Riek Machar, bat­tle each other po­lit­i­cally, while their armed forces, the Su­dan Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (SPLA) and the SPLA-In Op­po­si­tion, re­spec­tively, fight each other.

The fight­ing has trig­gered Africa’s worst refugee cri­sis with more than 3 mil­lion peo­ple flee­ing their homes. Many of those refugees have fled into neigh­bour­ing coun­tries with 1 mil­lion find­ing refuge in Uganda, mak­ing Kam­pala Africa’s big­gest host of refugees, de­spite the high rates of poverty in Uganda.

This had led to the refugees con­demn­ing the lack of health-care ser­vices and the con­tin­ued short­age of food within the re­set­tle­ment camps.

A short­age of wa­ter points has caused fight­ing be­tween the newly ar­rived South Su­danese and the long-suf­fer­ing Ugan­dan com­mu­ni­ties host­ing them. A short­age of schools in the refugee camps has fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated the dif­fi­cul­ties, with 100 to 200 chil­dren shar­ing one class­room.

Hu­man Rights Watch (HRW) re­ports that South Su­dan gov­ern­ment soldiers have killed, raped, and tor­tured civil­ians, as well as de­stroy­ing and pil­lag­ing civil­ian prop­erty dur­ing counter-in­sur­gency op­er­a­tions in the south­ern and western parts of the coun­try.

Both sides have com­mit­ted abuses against civil­ians in and around Juba and other ar­eas, caus­ing mil­lions to flee, said HRW.

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