Wednesday, February 19, 2014

First Hand Report on Situation in South Sudan

Two long-time observers of the situation in South Sudan and Sudan, John Prendergast and Ted Dagne, visited Bor and Juba in early February 2014.  Their 19 February 2014 report titled "Peace Must Come Soon: A Field Dispatch from South Sudan" was published by !Enough. 

They report that Juba's neighborhoods are now ghost towns.  Increasingly, fighting is taking on ethnic-based undertones, which sustains the widespread perception of an inter-communal threat.  Uganda played a decisive role in supporting the government's defense of Juba, the protection of the oilfields, and the recapture of key towns in Greater Upper Nile.  But Uganda's role risks derailing the IGAD mediation effort.  They quote senior government of South Sudan officials as saying there is no hope that Riek Machar can come back to the SPLM and it will be very difficult to reestablish an army that has both Dinka and Nuer.  They raise questions about the role of Eritrea.

Prendergast and Dagne conclude that "South Sudan can't just go back to the December 14 status quo ante.  There must be a fundamental shift in enhancing transparency and inclusivity, as well as the provision of democratic space."

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