News August 03, 2016 at 08:00 am

Little Hope for Peace in South Sudan as Minister Resigns

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

Fredrick Ngugi August 03, 2016 at 08:00 am

August 03, 2016 at 08:00 am | News

South Sudanese rebels. Sof Rep

Efforts to restore peace in South Sudan were dealt a major blow yesterday after Lam Akol, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security and key opposition leader, resigned, according to Al Jazeera.

Akol, who is the leader of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), also asked President Salva Kiir to leave power, saying the flimsy peace deal that created the government of unity in April is dead.

“There is no more peace agreement to implement in Juba,” Akol told reporters at a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He also revealed that he is in talks with other South Sudanese opposition leaders to consolidate an anti-government rebellion, further dampening any hopes for peace in the world’s youngest nation.

Many are worried that Akol could join forces now with South Sudan’s exiled former vice-president and rebel leader Riek Machar, who has vowed to launch attacks on President Kiir’s administration.

“Since the agreement is dead and there is no free political space in Juba, the only sensible way to oppose this regime so as to restore genuine peace is to organize outside Juba,” Akol said.

Former US diplomat Robin Sanders told Al Jazeera that the entire government of unity in South Sudan is slowly falling apart, further clouding any possible end to the current political crisis between former Machar and Kiir.

Sanders also warned that Akol’s resignation could sink South Sudan into a major civil crisis.

“Akol’s departure adds another blow to a very delicate situation. If he joins forces with Machar, then you really are on the road to a bigger fight and a bigger crisis. It is a worrying sign,” she said.

Counter-Accusations

Since the renewed fighting broke out early last month, hundreds of people – many of them civilians – have died and thousands are still fleeing to neighboring countries like Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

Over the weekend, at least nine people were killed in Nasir town in fresh clashes between government forces and rebels allied with Machar.

The two sides have continued to trade accusations, with each side claiming that the other has bombed or shelled the areas under their respective control.

The United Nations has threatened to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan in an attempt to prevent the current situation from escalating into a full-fledged war.

This warning comes a few days after internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Sudan accused UN peacekeepers of doing little to stop government forces from raping women and girls.

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