U.S. urges South Sudan to honor ceasefire, free political prisoners

WASHINGTON Mon Feb 3, 2014 8:55pm EST

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar speaks to rebel General Peter Gatdet Yaka (not seen) in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State February 1, 2014. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar speaks to rebel General Peter Gatdet Yaka (not seen) in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State February 1, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States urged South Sudan's leaders on Monday to implement a January 23 ceasefire between the government and rebels as an advance team of regional monitors arrived in the country.

A State Department official also pressed for the quick release by the government of the last four of a group of 11 detainees held on suspicion of trying to stage a coup, and to offer them and their families protection.

Seven of the political figures were released on January 29, partially meeting a rebel demand at peace talks.

The team of monitors arrived in South Sudan on Sunday to observe a shaky ceasefire agreed by the government of President Salva Kiir and rebels led by former vice president Riek Machar, whom he sacked in July for trying to seize power.

"We strongly support their efforts and urge the government of South Sudan and rebel leader Machar to facilitate their important work," the official said of the monitors.

"The expeditious release and transfer of all of the detainees would reduce tension and build confidence in an inclusive reconciliation process," the official added.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than 800,000 have fled their homes since fighting erupted in mid-December, triggered by a power struggle between Kiir and Machar.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton. Editing by Andre Grenon)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (4)
oxen wrote:
Kiir is too greedy for power with help from his masters and mercenaries giving him a big head. For example, his regime is trying to insinuate treason charges on Machar when it has now become public knowledge that there was no iota of truth in the coup claims. The argument among presidential guards where Dunka tried to disarm Nuer caused exchange of fire. It was this pretext Kiir’s faction used to execute the Nuer soldiers and later 200 other Nuer also perished. Machar had no choice bu resist after that. Kiir called his buddy( Museveni ) to send his militias to help since the two warlords are in cohorts to to monopolize power in S-Sudan. So US/UN/EU/IGAD need to do more to reign in the erratic warlords that do not wish to see reforms in S- Sudan governance and wish to rely on mercenaries.

Feb 04, 2014 8:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Nipee wrote:
#Oxen
Dr. Fool Riek Machar is fooling himself as usual by changing statements; that’s why he rebelled in 1991, demanding Dr. John Garang to step down but shortly ended up in Khartoum due to his poor vision and the claims that the movement (SPLM) was not democratic. He returned voluntarily to the very SPLM/A in 2002 that he rebelled against only to be forgiven for all what had happened including Bor massacre before inking CPA in 2005. Since 2005, Dr. Fool Riek Machar was not evidently interested in getting CPA implemented in good faith although he was given VP in a golden plate. Instead he was obsessed with how/when will his turn to be the president of South Sudan come based in his definition of democracy.
Riek is fooling some South Sudanese like those tribal-minded and internet-war-mongers/supporters that he defined democracy better than Dr. John Garang during the war and Cde. Salva Kiir Mayardit during the interim period and post-independent South Sudan although his end game always proves opposite. Riek knows that he will never get the full political support required to win the upcoming democratic elections of 2015. Alternatively, he relies on his tribal backing to impose himself on the presidency since “using violence has become the democratic means” of transferring power from Cde. Salva Kiir Mayardit (Dinka) to him personally (Nuer) or from his shared tribal sentiments – from Dinka to Nuer regardless of different current political climate.
Dr. Fool Riek believes that he can even fool some South Sudanese, regional leaders and international actors that his rebellion is democratic because Bari speakers would follow the fugitive, Alfred Ladu Gore who declared in April 2010 elections that if he wins governorship of CES, non-Equatorians should leave Juba. The view was never shared by his fellow Equatorians, Dinka or Nuer alike.
Now Alfred Ladu Gore blindly joined self-imposed leader of rebellion Dr. Fool Riek Machar, hoping to drive out Riek (non-Equatorian) later out of Juba or would allow Riek to lead the country he has never liberated. Those civilians butchered by Jalaba during the war in Juba, Wau, Malakal or Khartoum are better off than Riek, Gore Gai and other associates.
The very Khartoum that used to support militia groups is fed up in terms of resource-draining with some disgruntled Nuers for failing to achieve its proxy war to destabilize South Sudan on the ground that South Sudanese cannot rule themselves because everybody wants to be a LEADER. Riek is the only proof of Khartoum’s claims, NOT ALL SOUTH SUDANESE.
Having said this, Khartoum wanted to win international support to keep Sudan remained united on old basis which in the real sense the war was only punctuated by CPA. Now the time has come for Khartoum/NCP to realize that Dr. Fool Riek Machar alone and his supporters cannot rule South Sudan, however, strong he claims and his so-called the “white army which is blindly dragged into repeatedly senseless killings in Bor, Malakal, and Bentiu that regional, continental (AU) and international community are pretending to turn blind eye to atrocities committed by Dr. Fool Riek Machar’s forces in the name of democracy. Do we have to import or grow our own democracy that fits our cultural, social, economic and political climate?
Democracy can never be imported like manufactured goods. If Dr. Fool Riek wants to import and experiment it on Nuer locality, fine, use it wisely like driving a vehicle in a crowded area, otherwise you can easily rock your country socially and economically as the record dates back to 1991 without excluding humanitarian cost . The likelihood of misusing it is 100% because it doesn’t fit.
President Barack Obama was elected to lead USA not because it was a democratic turn for black American to rule as Dr. Fool Riek Machar is trying to copy the advanced democratic ideals of the western world and paste it here in the two years old nation. I don’t think the Western world views it that way because it was American people who voted for Obama, not Dr. Fool Riek Machar and his associates who imposed Obama on American people in the name of democracy. South Sudanese know who to vote for based on political record and judgment. Americans live in America/USA. Likewise, we South Sudanese live in South Sudan and we know who to vote for to advance this nascent country for the benefit of the future generation.

Feb 05, 2014 9:10am EST  --  Report as abuse
Nipee wrote:
Dr. Fool Riek Machar is fooling himself as usual by changing statements; that’s why he rebelled in 1991, demanding Dr. John Garang to step down but shortly ended up in Khartoum due to his poor vision and the claims that the movement (SPLM) was not democratic. He returned voluntarily to the very SPLM/A in 2002 that he rebelled against only to be forgiven for all what had happened including Bor massacre before inking CPA in 2005. Since 2005, Dr. Fool Riek Machar was not evidently interested in getting CPA implemented in good faith although he was given VP in a golden plate. Instead he was obsessed with how/when will his turn to be the president of South Sudan come based in his definition of democracy.
Riek is fooling some South Sudanese like those tribal-minded and internet-war-mongers/supporters that he defined democracy better than Dr. John Garang during the war and Cde. Salva Kiir Mayardit during the interim period and post-independent South Sudan although his end game always proves opposite. Riek knows that he will never get the full political support required to win the upcoming democratic elections of 2015. Alternatively, he relies on his tribal backing to impose himself on the presidency since “using violence has become the democratic means” of transferring power from Cde. Salva Kiir Mayardit (Dinka) to him personally (Nuer) or from his shared tribal sentiments – from Dinka to Nuer regardless of different current political climate.
Dr. Fool Riek believes that he can even fool some South Sudanese, regional leaders and international actors that his rebellion is democratic because Bari speakers would follow the fugitive, Alfred Ladu Gore who declared in April 2010 elections that if he wins governorship of CES, non-Equatorians should leave Juba. The view was never shared by his fellow Equatorians, Dinka or Nuer alike.
Now Alfred Ladu Gore blindly joined self-imposed leader of rebellion Dr. Fool Riek Machar, hoping to drive out Riek (non-Equatorian) later out of Juba or would allow Riek to lead the country he has never liberated. Those civilians butchered by Jalaba during the war in Juba, Wau, Malakal or Khartoum are better off than Riek, Gore Gai and other associates.
The very Khartoum that used to support militia groups is fed up in terms of resource-draining with some disgruntled Nuers for failing to achieve its proxy war to destabilize South Sudan on the ground that South Sudanese cannot rule themselves because everybody wants to be a LEADER. Riek is the only proof of Khartoum’s claims, NOT ALL SOUTH SUDANESE.
Having said this, Khartoum wanted to win international support to keep Sudan remained united on old basis which in the real sense the war was only punctuated by CPA. Now the time has come for Khartoum/NCP to realize that Dr. Fool Riek Machar alone and his supporters cannot rule South Sudan, however, strong he claims and his so-called the “white army which is blindly dragged into repeatedly senseless killings in Bor, Malakal, and Bentiu that regional, continental (AU) and international community are pretending to turn blind eye to atrocities committed by Dr. Fool Riek Machar’s forces in the name of democracy. Do we have to import or grow our own democracy that fits our cultural, social, economic and political climate?
Democracy can never be imported like manufactured goods. If Dr. Fool Riek wants to import and experiment it on Nuer locality, fine, use it wisely like driving a vehicle in a crowded area, otherwise you can easily rock your country socially and economically as the record dates back to 1991 without excluding humanitarian cost . The likelihood of misusing it is 100% because it doesn’t fit.
President Barack Obama was elected to lead USA not because it was a democratic turn for black American to rule as Dr. Fool Riek Machar is trying to copy the advanced democratic ideals of the western world and paste it here in the two years old nation. I don’t think the Western world views it that way because it was American people who voted for Obama, not Dr. Fool Riek Machar and his associates who imposed Obama on American people in the name of democracy. South Sudanese know who to vote for based on political record and judgment. Americans live in America/USA. Likewise, we South Sudanese live in South Sudan and we know who to vote for to advance this nascent country for the benefit of the future generation.

Feb 05, 2014 9:36am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures