The President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit declared a ceasefire across the entire country, including the capital Juba which has seen violent and bloody fighting over the past week, up until yesterday. The fighting was between government forces and the army of the former rebel leader Riek Machar, who is now Vice-President. Kiir stressed his government’s commitment to the ceasefire and the implementation of the peace agreement, and called on citizens to remain calm and return to work. Meanwhile, the SPLA’s Chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan gave his soldiers and the regime’s forces strict instructions to refrain from attacking citizens or their property and warned violators that they would be severely punished in the event that they refused to oblige.
South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei said that President Salva Kiir held a telephone conversation with his Vice-President yesterday and that they discussed the current situation, agreed to a cessation of hostilities in Juba and other parts of the country. He also added that the security situation is stable after the military skirmishes that took place at dawn yesterday near the airport, the United Nations Mission and in other areas. Makuei said that fighting in Torit, east of the country, has ceased.
Makuei explained that his government does not want to blame any neighbouring country for being responsible for the fighting at the moment, but that he blames Vice-President Riek Machar’s forces for creating chaos in South Sudan. However, he stressed that the situation has started to calm down and that he will implement the cessation of hostilities announced by President Salva Kiir that his Vice-President has agreed to. With regards to this, Machar said “We are committed to implementing the peace agreement that we signed, and we have a transitional national unity government that will proceed with its tasks despite the circumstances that Juba has witnessed during the last few days”.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of IGAD countries held an emergency meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to discuss the current situation and lawlessness in South Sudan. The Information Minister Michael Makuei said that South Sudan’s Foreign Minister did not go to Kenya, but that he had a telephone conversation with his counterparts during which he clarified the situation and emphasised that all parties are committed to implementing the peace agreement sponsored by IGAD after the outbreak of war in 2013.