Lobby group condemns Leer clashes

Lobby group condemns Leer clashes
TOPSHOT – Rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), a South Sudanese anti-government force, hold ammunitions which they say were confiscated from government forces during fighting as they take part in a military exercise on September 22, 2018, at their base in Panyume, South Sudan, near the border with Uganda. – Despite a peace deal being signed by the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, and opposition leader Riek Machar on September 12, conflict in Central Equatoria continues as both warring parties fight for control. (Photo by SUMY SADURNI / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUMY SADURNI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) has condemned the recent fighting in Leer County, Unity State.

The lobby group appealed to the warring sides, SPLA-IO and SSPDF, to respect international humanitarian and international human rights law when it comes to the rule of engagement.

The advocacy group said the government has the responsibility to hold individuals who cause violence accountable at a time when the country is striving to transition from war to peaceful democracy.  

“As South Sudan anticipated holding general elections in December 2024, its government must hold accountable those individuals creating conflict, and yet we are seeking for the transformation of South Sudan from war to a peaceful democratic state,” the statement from advocacy read in part.

The group said that the fresh fighting in Leer is not in line with Chapter Two Article of the R-ARCSS offensive, provocative, or retaliatory actions such as dissemination of propaganda, recruitment, mobilisation, redeployment, and movements of forces.

It continued that it is only allowed under COHA of December 21, 2017, for administrative and logistical movements, which shall be reported to the CTSAMVM prior to movements and any other activities that may jeopardise the peace agreement.

According to the Centre for Peace and Advocacy, the Leer conflict was caused by a lack of commitment between two principals to the agreement.

“The leaders have failed to control their forces. We need responsible generals who understand the suffering of civilians across the country.”

 It said that for the country to be peaceful, there must be tolerance and honest governance of citizens to enjoy peace.  

Also, the CPA added that they expected the President to say something about the conflict in Leer during the Seventh Governors’ Forum opening.

 “CPA calls on RJMEC, CTSAMVM, and IGAD to investigate this incident and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.”

Col Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLA-IO army spokesperson, said on Tuesday that Lt Gen. Simon Maguek’s militias, backed by the SSPDF base in Leer, attacked their base in Kai Gai, Leer County, Unity State.