South Sudan Rebels Designate Equatoria Region “Military Zone,” Urge Citizens to Leave

Addis Ababa, February 9, 2015 (SSNA) — A senior official of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in Opposition (SPLM-IO) has announced that the Equatoria Region has been labeled as a military zone, effective February 10, 2015.

The official also urges civil population to leave all government-controlled cities.

In a press statement extended to the South Sudan News agency (SSNA), the leadership of South Sudan’s rebels said that the government of South Sudan has repeatedly violated the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA) which was signed on January 23rd, 2013.

“From the 10th February, 2015 Equatoria region is effectively declared a military zone until the current regime is changed,” Oyet Nathaniel Pierino, the SPLM-IO Chairman of National Committee for Political Mobilization said in the statement.

The document which bears the signature of Pierino, has harshly accused Juba of undermining peace talks by refusing to withdraw foreign forces and urges anyone who lives in any government-controlled city to leave.

“The government of South Sudan and its allies has been violating this agreement by refusing to withdraw foreign forces that continued to undermine the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the new nation,” he added.

Prierino further reveals that IGAD which is mediating the peace between the two warring factions has members who back Kiir’s regime and that achieving peace is near to impossible. Even though Pierino did not name any country by name, it is in record that Uganda, a member of IGAD is supporting Kiir.

“Unfortunately for the peace talks in Addis Ababa, those who mediate the talks-the IGAD has members who are complicit in the state failure in South Sudan and human right violations in the armed conflict,” Pierino recalls.

The SPLM-IO leader expresses disappointment over IGAD’s decision to put more focus on power sharing and reunification of the SPLM, saying that demand for political and governance reforms and justice for the victims of Kiir’s genocide remains one of the critical points in the ongoing peace negotiations.

The SPLM-IO senior official also reminds the international community that Kiir’s government is still beheading people in their houses in and around Juba, condemns what he calls government policy of targeting and killing the members of Nuer, equatorians, pertit, balanda, shilluk, murle, and other members of minority communities, and urge United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to investigate and bring culprits to justice.

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