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RADIO TAMAZUJ - 14 Dec 2015

Reflections on the second anniversary of war in South Sudan

What does the 15th December anniversary mean to South Sudanese? Where is the nation today? What lies ahead this year? Today we bring you a selection of reflections on these questions from South Sudanese citizens, leaders, civil society and non-governmental organizations.

IDP leader: We are tired of death, we are tired of wars

“Our situation is so bad here in the PoC. We are currently in a very congested area, and we depending on relief assistance. May God fill the hearts of the warring parties with peace so that we can stop from suffering. We need a total and real peace. We are tired of wars in this country.

“This 15th December reminds me of the bad things which engulfed my family. On that day I lost my brothers, my Uncle, and many other relatives… The ordinary civil have nothing to do war and fighting, we just want peace and togetherness so that people live in harmony. People have to resort to laws; people should not take law into their hands.”

Oxfam: Tens of thousands have died and civilians are still in danger

Zlatko Gegic, Country Director for Oxfam in South Sudan: “South Sudan is not where it should be, four years into independence and four months into a signed deal. Tens of thousands have been killed and millions have lost their homes and property. Women, children and men are still caught up on the frontlines as they seek safety or food for their families. People need to access aid safely without having to make hard choices between fleeing fighting and providing for their families. All parties to the war should lay down their arms and stop putting innocent civilians at risk.”

Civil society leader: The warring parties are not committed to the agreement

Edmund Yakani, head of the civil society group CEPO: “I am seeing nothing has really improved despite the current political settlement. People talk more and do less in term of peace implementation… Innocent people who are not part of the current conflict have lost their lives for no reason.”

“The current deterioration in political and economic situation in the country is because both the warring parties are not committed to the agreement in order to resolve their political differences. I think the warring parties are putting their personal interest more than national interest.”

Bishop Paul Yogosuk: People are suffering and need more help

Paul Yogosuk, Episcopal bishop and head of the Church Leaders Mediation Initiative: “We so thankful that the agreement has been signed but we still urge the two parties to show their full commitment to the terms of agreement. It is very important because if there is no commitment and adherence, if people talk of reservations then it will not help at all. It will just take us back to zero level.”

“If this agreement is for the interest of the people, then let the leadership show commitment. Let them go back to root causes of the conflict as they are from one political party as you know. They have disagreed within their party and spread fire in the whole of South Sudan.”

“My message to those who are taking refuge in Uganda, IDPs camps in UNMISS as well as in the forests is that people have to work for peace. Church leaders and civil society organizations have to exert more effort in the process of repatriation and resettlement of war-affected people because they are really affected. Numbers of them have lost their relatives and love ones as well as properties. This time we need a lasting peace for the people of South Sudan.”

Human rights group: Children are being forced to fight and die

Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch: “Thousands of children have fought in the South Sudan conflict, including under commanders from both government and opposition forces… Commanders have deliberately and brutally recruited and used children to fight, in total disregard for their safety and South Sudan’s law. South Sudan authorities should call a halt to the massive recruitment and use of children in this conflict, which deepens the decades-old patterns of abuse.”

Deng Athuai: Reconciliation must accompany peace

Former Civil Society Alliance Chairman Deng Athuai: “We are expecting this peace to bring social justice between citizens. We were expecting peace to prevail so that we urge people to reconcile and embrace culture of peace and coexistence. We have to believe in national unity and avoid all aspects of discrimination and tribalism. The warring parties should work for the interest of civil population in South Sudan not for their personal interests.”

Mother of 5 children: Children are traumatized by war

Marina, mother of three and caretaker of other two children separated from their mother: “I have three children of my own, and I am also looking after my sister’s children. They were separated from their mother… My nephew used to tell me that they had seen many dead bodies when they were running and that people chased them with big guns and tanks. He was really traumatised – he wouldn’t talk to anyone... He is always asking for his mother. If someone arrives from Juba, he asks: 'have you seen my mother?'”

Diaspora leader: Let go of your anger and hate

Benjamin Taban, South Sudanese community leader, United Kingdom: “From the 15th December 2015 we should make a commitment and act to reduce and minimize the death and suffering of our people by asking kindly in God’s grace all the leaders of fighting forces of SPLM/A and other rebel or militia leaders to call off permanently all armed hostilities and fighting, help your fellow human beings and citizens to live and enjoy life from this day as you too would wish for yourself, children, wife or husband, brother or sister, mother or father...”

“Put your weapons, aggression, anger or hate down but take a leaf or sign of cross as a symbol of your reconciliation, peace, forgiveness and LOVE to yourself, opponents and neighbours so your fellow human beings will find safety, security, freedom and happiness during this Christmas and beyond. Do the right thing for yourself, for the good of humanity and your beloved country South Sudan.”

Newspaper editor: People still have fear in their hearts

Alfred Taban, editor-in-chief of Juba Monitor newspaper: “Let this peace agreement be implemented so that people can forget what happened on the 15th December of 2103. If peace is not implemented, then people will still have fears in their hearts.”

“People have delayed peace implementation. This delay in not in the interest of peace. People couldn’t cultivate this year due to continuation of this civil war. But people have to be patient because peace is a process which cannot happen in one day.”


Credits: Radio Tamazuj interviews with PoC leader, Edmund Yakani, Paul Yogusuk, Deng Athuai, Alfred Taban, Zlatko Gegic; HRW press release quoting Daniel Bekele; Save the Children/Jonathan Hyams press release quoting Marina.