The ongoing rebellion in South Sudan’s Equatoria region is undermining the peace deal the country’s warring parties signed in 2018, a group warned on Thursday.
The report from International Crisis Group (ICG), titled ‘South Sudan’s Other War: Resolving the Insurgency in Equatoria’ said mediators and external powers should push the warring parties to abide by commitments they already made to respect a ceasefire.
“They should then broker a deal to bring the rebels into the national peace process and, later, the constitutional negotiations that this process calls for. The country’s outside partners should also forge grassroots support for a deal in places afflicted by conflict,” it said.
According to the group, the faction opposing government should be involved in the country’s constitutional negotiations, while forging grassroots support for a deal in places afflicted by conflict.
Many of the Equatorians, the report further noted, feel that the region has been excluded from negotiations to end the civil war, which helps explain why its conflict has become entrenched.
The group urged mediators and external powers to push for Juba and the leader of the National Salvation Front (NAS), Thomas Cirillo to fulfil the terms of their ceasefire deal, including incorporating NAS’s representatives in the existing ceasefire-monitoring body.
“They should also press [Salva] Kiir to bolster and Cirillo to join the constitution-making process that the deal between Kiir and [Riek] Machar provides for. This way, the holdout rebel leader will have an avenue to press home his demands at the table, instead of on the battlefield,” it stressed.