South Sudan’s r****s dethrone leader in new search for peace
On January 28, the Radisson Blue Hotel in Nairobi played host to a significant event in the history of South Sudan as the South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A) announced their decision to engage in a homegrown dialogue with the revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (TRGoNU).
However, this announcement was not without controversy as it was also marked by the ousting of SSUF/A leader, General Paul Malong Awan, by 13 senior army officials and generals commanding various rebel troops.
The SSUF/A is a rebel group that was formed in 2017 by the now ousted General Malong, a former Chief in the South Sudanese army. The group has been active in the Equatoria region of South Sudan, where it has been fighting against the TRGoNU for control. Following the developments, Major General Dickson Gatluak Nyuot has now taking over as the Deputy Chief of General Staff for Administration and Finance (SSUF/A) and Chairman of the SSUF/A Nairobi Declaration. Maj Gen Gatluok hails from the Upper Nile State, Maiwut County.
“We, the undersigned leaders and members of the South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A), recognize that there is no military solution to the crisis in South Sudan, and that a sustainable peace can be achieved only through inclusive political dialogue,” reads part of the statement Saturday evening.
The SSUF/A is a coalition of armed groups that have been fighting against the TRGoNU in South Sudan since 2013. The conflict, which began in 2013, has caused immense suffering for the people of South Sudan, with hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of people displaced. Despite several attempts at peace talks and agreements, the fighting has continued.
The decision to engage in a homegrown dialogue was seen as a positive step towards achieving peace and stability in the war-torn country of South Sudan. This approach emphasizes the importance of involving all parties in the conflict, including civil society and community leaders, in the dialogue. This is in contrast to previous peace talks, which have been led by external mediators and have not always included all relevant parties.
They say there is a need for bold decisions, in the interest of national reconciliation, that can guide the country to a new political dispensation and permanent constitutional order. The leaders recognized the importance of the prevailing Papal visit to the Republic of South Sudan as a sign of a new beginning towards the realization of a sustainable peace in the country.
The declaration of a homegrown solution is as a result of President Salva Kiir Mayardit message for the Chrismas and New Year eve, when he reiterated that, “As a people emerging from the conflict situation, we all need to support peace by shunning violence in all forms and by choosing peaceful means to address our grievances whenever they arise.” However, the announcement of the homegrown dialogue was marred by the ousting of General Malong.