JUBA South Sudan
(Xinhua) -- Thousands of South
Sudanese on Wednesday gathered in the capital, Juba to celebrate
a recently signed peace deal amid high hopes of an end to five
years of civil unrest.
The nationwide celebrations
attended by regional leaders marked the signing of the new peace
deal agreed in September.
To many South Sudanese, the latest peace deal offers hope of
ending the civil war and unbearable economic crisis that has
ravaged the war-torn east African country since it plunged into
civil war in late 2013.
"It is so wonderful for us to celebrate peace and I hope that
this will be the last suffering in South Sudan," said
19-year-old Kual Marial.
"We women want peace and our hope is that they (leaders) have
really realized that we are suffering and they will change their
"Peace has come and it is wonderful. With peace coming in,
there is possibility of my people coming back from the refugee
camp in Uganda," said John Ito, 77.
Ito said lasting peace will make South Sudan stable and give
it chance for development and prosperity, urging the South
Sudanese leaders not to squander the latest chance.
"I want to thank them (leaders) for the spirit of
reconciliation, forgiveness and for bringing peace to us.
"Let them go ahead, and they should not fail again," Ito told
Xinhua in Juba.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the
conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises
in the world.
The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have
been displaced internally and externally.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following
renewed violence in the capital, Juba in July 2016.
Under the new peace deal, opposition leader Riek Machar will
once again be reinstated as Kiir’s deputy.
Speaking during the peace celebrations in Juba on Wednesday,
Machar who returned to South Sudan for the first time in two
years after fleeing the country, reiterated his commitment to
the new peace pact and end the war in South Sudan.
"I came only to confirm to people that I am for peace.
"The past is gone.
"We have opened a new chapter for peace and unity," Machar
told the cheering crowd in Juba.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir declared an end to war
during the peace ceremony on Wednesday, adding that he has
forgiven his opponents and is ready to move forward.
Kiir also apologized to his people for the "immense
suffering" they went through in the past five years.
Daniela James, 24, welcomed the positive steps taken by the
South Sudanese leaders to end the war, and urged them to ensure
that this latest peace deal is implemented fully.
"I want to thank our leaders for this achievement.
"It is very great to me and I’m so thankful," James said.
"Let them implement this peace and work on it.
"I don’t see it just to be in the name of peace, but let’s
implement everything because I as a South Sudanese, I need peace
in my country.
"I need our people who have been suffering to come home and
stay in peace James stressed," Daniela added.
"We are very happy for the peace, being a youth in South
Sudan; I hope it will bring peace and unity to all South
Sudanese," said Atem Camilo, 26.
"If there is peace, everybody will be happy, we will move
freely, we shall not suffer of food shortage," added Camilo.
South Sudanese celebrate
peace deal amid calls for lasting peace
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudanese on Wednesday celebrated the
signing of a power-sharing deal aimed at ending a brutal
five-year civil war amid calls for lasting peace in the world’s
Regional dignitaries and South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek
Machar who signed a revitalized peace deal in September with
President Salva Kiir in Ethiopia, joined thousands of South
Sudanese in the capital Juba to celebrate the peace deal amid
Speaking during the celebrations, President Kiir said the
five-year-old civil war in his country has come to an end with
President Kiir also declared he has forgiven his opponents
and is ready to move forward as part of efforts to end conflict
in the country.
"I want to reiterate that the war in South Sudan has come to
an end and we have forgiven each other and we have decided to
move forward," Kiir told thousands of people who gathered in
Juba to celebrate the peace deal.
The president said he has taken personal responsibility for
the suffering of South Sudanese as a result of the conflict.
"You have endured immense suffering and the weight of
responsibility heavily falls on my shoulders as your president
and I deeply regret the physical, psychological, and emotional
wounds you have undeservedly endured.
"As your president, I want to apologize on behalf of all the
parties to the conflict," said Kiir.
During the celebrations, Kiir ordered the release of James
Gatdet Dak, a former spokesman of Machar, saying although Gatdet
has been sentenced to death, his release is for the sake of
Kiir also said he would release William John Endley, a South
African national who was Machar’s adviser on Thursday after
which he will be deported to his home country.
The South African, who is a retired army colonel, was also
sentenced to death early this year on charges of espionage,
conspiracy to overthrow the government and supplying weapons.
"The war is over and this celebration is testimony that we
are committed to the agreement and we must commit ourselves to
it," Kiir added.
Machar, who returned to Juba for the first time in two years
since fleeing the country in 2016, took part in the peace
celebration, saying that he came to Juba to show his commitment
to the latest peace deal and end the conflict in South Sudan.
"I came only to confirm to people that I am for peace.
"The past is gone.
"We have opened a new chapter for peace and unity," said
Machar who had been exiled to South Africa over the years.
Yoweri Museveni, Ugandan President, told South Sudan leaders
to embrace non-violent means of solving political conflicts and
differences through transparent elections and dialogue.
"It is therefore ideologically incorrect to use war to solve
political arguments, elections are the discussions or the right
way or referendum but then the elections must be fair.
"If the elections are not fair they are the one which create
conditions for people thinking other ways of solving problems,"
He congratulated Kiir and Machar for allowing logic to
prevail after they signed in September a final revitalized peace
agreement in the Ethiopian capital to end more than four years
The Ugandan leader urged both leaders to avoid sectarianism,
tribal politics and instead create systems and institutions with
national character in the army and civil service.
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Somali president, called on South
Sudan leaders to make concessions to put the country and its
"Let’s all remember that no deal is always perfect, no
arrangement is without flaws, no negotiation is perfectly
"The real test of a leader is to have the ability to make
concessions and put this country and its people first," said
Mohamed said attainment of peace in South Sudan is
significant for stability of the east African region, adding his
country will support South Sudan.
"You have shown the way for peace, I urge you to steer your
country into the right path of peace and development," said the
"You have shown a great statesmanship in coming together to
end the protracted conflict.
"I urge you to join hands to stir your country into the right
path towards peace and development," he said.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who helped broker the
peace deal, called on South Sudan’s leaders to commit to the
peace agreement and move their country forward.
Sahle-Work Zewde, newly appointed Ethiopian President, called
for ceasefire and urged the leaders to fully implement the peace
deal which was inked in Ethiopia by Kiir and Machar.
Under the new peace deal, Machar will serve as the first of
five vice presidents under a transitional government of national
South Sudan’s Machar
commends African leaders for reviving peace
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar on
Wednesday commended efforts of various African leaders for
reviving the peace process in the wake of the renewed July
violence in 2016.
Machar, who leads the main rebel group, the Sudan People’s
Liberation Movement/ Army-in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), lauded
President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of
Ethiopia, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ugandan President
Yoweri Museveni for helping the warring parties reach
compromises that ushered in the final peace deal in Ethiopia.
"We thank President al-Bashir for doing the most difficult
task of persuading the parties to reach compromises in the midst
of great suspicion and skepticism among the regional and
international actors and more worse among us the warring
parties," Machar told peace celebrations in Juba attended by
African leaders and diplomats.
He said Khartoum has become a hub for peacemaking and thanked
President al-Bashir on proving the skeptics wrong.
The Sudanese leader mediated the peace process under the
auspices of the east African bloc the Inter-Governmental
Authority on Development (IGAD), which saw South Sudan’s
President Salva Kiir and Machar meet face-to-face after the 2015
peace deal was weakened.
Machar, who fled the capital following renewed violence in
2016, had been exiled to South Africa.
"I would like to thank in person Abiy Ahmed Ali, prime
minister of Ethiopia, for taking the courageous decision of
extracting me from that confinement to engage in face-to-face
meeting with my brother President Salva Kiir in order for us to
end the impasse," said Machar.
He also commended the IGAD leaders for delegating and
mandating president al-Bashir to mediate the crises and take the
lead in the process on behalf of the bloc, which led to the
signing of Khartoum peace declaration and subsequent agreement.
Machar thanked Kenyatta for supporting the Khartoum peace
process after it gained momentum under President al-Bashir’s
"We want to thank you again that you have helped us to bring
peace to our country.
"We also want to thank your competent mediation team led by
your foreign minister, Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed, for the hard
work and tremendous effort to pull former warring parties
together to cross the finishing line," he said.
Machar said Museveni fully backed the peace process and
several meetings occurred at Uganda’s State House in Entebbe,
where a number of compromises were made.
He also extended thanks to countries and organizations
including the European Union, IGAD partner forums and China.
David Shearer, head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS),
paid tribute to regional leaders, specifically the leaders of
Sudan and Uganda for the crucial roles they played in securing
the agreement and who continue to champion its full
"Some clashes still persist in parts of the country, but
overall levels of fighting have reduced.
"Very simply, that reduction has meant that fewer have died,
more humanitarian goods have flowed to those who need them and,
people once again can start planning for their own future," said
There is still much hard work ahead to ensure that the
revitalized peace agreement is fully implemented, he said.
Shearer urged the South Sudan leaders to embrace trust, the
key ingredient for peace implementation.
"Let me assure you, the United Nations is absolutely
committed to working with you all as a partner," he said.
"We will stand alongside the parties as they move forward in
"We will use our resources and our presence across the
country to support reconciliation and peace building," Shearer
South African government
welcomes decision by
South Sudan to release retired army colonel
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
The South African government on Thursday
welcomed the decision by the South Sudanese government to
release William Endley, an ex-colonel of the South African
Defence Force (SADF).
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir announced the decision to
release Endley on Wednesday as a gesture of peace during the
National Peace Celebration, which took place in the capital city
Endley was sentenced to death on February 12, 2018 for
espionage and conspiring to overthrow the South Sudanese
Lindiwe Sisulu, South African Minister of International
Relations and Cooperation, extended gratitude to Kiir for the
decision to release Endley.
"We appeal to all South Africans who happen to get
opportunities to work abroad to observe and respect the laws of
the countries they serve," said Sisulu.
Kirr announced on Wednesday that he would release Endley on
Thursday and deport him back to South Africa.
Endley, an adviser for South Sudanese rebel leader Riek
Machar, was accused of providing Machar with military support.
Endley has been imprisoned in South Sudan for more than two
South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011 but plunged
into a civil war in 2013 after Kiir accused Machar, then the
vice president, of plotting a coup against him.