July 14, 2014 (BAGARI) – South Sudan president, Salva Kiir on Monday accused his former deputy-turned rebel leader, Riek Machar of allegedly relying on “spiritual” powers to mobilise youth against the national army.
“What has he [Machar] done when his forces entered Bor? They killed those who were under medical treatments and raped old women who were working in the church, women who are even at the ages of their mothers,” Kiir said during the opening of the new Wau county administrative headquarters at Bagari.
The transfer of the county headquarters from Wau to Bagari sparked violence and arrest of politicians opposed to the move in 2012. Till now, two lawmakers are still in detention for allegedly instigating the violence.
The president said acts committed by rebels on innocent civilians, such as rape, killings and displacements were “unacceptable”
South Sudan descended in to turmoil late last year when violence broke out in its capital, Juba and later spread to its Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile states. The conflict, now in its seventh month, has killed thousands, displacing over a million people both internally and in to neighboring countries.
Last month, peace talks mediated by the East African regional bloc (IGAD) hit a snag and were indefinitely suspended after rebels boycotted talks.
Despite these setbacks, however, president Kiir said his government was ready to resume negotiations with the rebels, whom he accused of “lying” to the international community.
“We are moving to achieve peace, but to achieve everlasting peace, let both work hard together with the international mediators to agree that war stop and we deploy monitoring committee to observe the signed ceasefire and allow the humanitarians needs to affected population”, said Kiir, who was flanked by the Western Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap state governors.
Also present were several officials, including the ruling party (SPLM) acting secretary general, Anne Itto, cabinet ministers, advisors and lawmakers.
The president, in his address, emphasised the importance of Wau’s development, but claimed such efforts were being thwarted by those opposed to his regime.
“Wau was not with a single development, but since the elected governor Rizik comes on power, he came up with a decision of implementing the SPLM party vision of taking towns to the people, making the development we are seeing today,” Kiir told the crowd.
“In 2012, violence erupted in Wau town and claimed many lives of people of which there was no reason of their death. Let it not occur again,” he stressed.
NO POWER SHORT-CUT
Power, the South Sudanese leader said, should be attained through the peaceful elections, criticised those prefer “short cuts” to rise to the helm.
“You cannot enjoy your leadership if you use short cut to power,” observed Kiir.
“My brother [Riek] believes on propaganda that this government must be reform and anyone in this government should go so that he can come in,” he added.
The ongoing talks, analysts say, provides the best option to end the country’s raging conflict, which has killed thousands and displaced over a million people.