The South Sudanese government is pushing for an international monitoring force to be set up to ensure a tenuous ceasefire holds, local media outlets reported during the weekend. The calls came as both sides traded accusations of violations, many of them unverifiable, following an agreement reached late last month meant to end months of escalating violence.
The government in Juba, which became the capital of South Sudan after it won its independence from Sudan in 2011, is doubtful a governmental monitoring agency will be able to prevent ceasefire violations. Newly appointed South Sudan Special Peace Envoy John Andruga Duku has proposed a force controlled by the African Union and funded by the U.N., similar to the African Union mission in Somalia.
The recently reached agreement called for an immediate end to fighting, and the freeing of child soldiers and prisoners of war. Military forces are to leave the capital and be replaced by a special force, and a new “vice president” post is to be filled by a representative from among the rebels, among other requirements.
— Department of State (@StateDept) September 1, 2015
President Salva Kiir signed the agreement amid pressure from international actors, including the U.N., which threatened to place international sanctions on him otherwise. Several ceasefires reached in the past have failed to hold, and both sides already have been accused of violating the terms of the recently reached agreement.
South Sudan, the world’s newest state, has been gripped by turmoil since December 2013 when Kiir accused Vice President Riek Machar of plotting a coup against him. The country has since divided along ethnic fault lines, as thousands of people have been killed in violence and millions have been displaced.
— Matthew Rycroft (@MatthewRycroft1) September 4, 2015
Machar has placed blame for much of the violence on Kiir, whose forces have been accused of egregious human rights violations by the U.N. Machar’s rebels have similarly been accused of rights violations, and several generals representing both government and rebel forces have been blacklisted by the U.N. Security Council.