S. Sudan’s displaced call for new government without rival leaders
August 31, 2014 (JUBA) – Internally displaced people (IDPs) residing inside a UN camp in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, have called on the international community to support the formation of a new government without president Salva Kiir or rebel leader Riek Machar.
- An aerial view of a UN camp for internally displaced people in South Sudan’s capital, Juba (ST)
A resident, who identified himself as “Gattagor”, described ongoing peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, had been a total failure, saying the only solution is to exclude both rival leaders from government.
“To end [the] suffering of South Sudanese in IDP camps and at various parts of the country there is need to put aside [Salva] Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar and bring new people for [an] interim government,” he told Sudan Tribune, adding that the rival leaders continued political involvement in the country’s affairs would only pave the way for further bloodshed.
Mother of five Nyayiel Guek told Sudan Tribune that her son was shot dead by members of the South Sudanese army (SPLA) in the middle of the night at their house in Gudele village, west of Juba, on 17 December 2013.
Guek, who has since fled to Juba for the safety of her surviving children, says she no longer sees a legitimate government after her family’s treatment at the hands of the armed forces.
“I witness many people were shot dead, including my son, [who was] killed in front of me,” said Guek, who broke down in tears while recalling her son’s death.
She said there was no hope for unity under the current leadership, who she accuses of intentionally targeting civilians based on their ethnicity.
“We were [the] victim of killing because of our identity as [the] Nuer tribe. Can this country progress with the Dinka as the tribe?” she said.
South Sudan has been mired in conflict since mid-December last year after a political split within the ruling party (SPLM) turned violent, triggering tribal tensions across the country.
- A displaced South Sudanese woman shaves her son’s head at a UN camp in the capital, Juba on 30 August 2014 (ST)
The fighting has pitted government troops loyal to Kiir, who hails from the Dinka tribe, against rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar, a Nuer.
Guek says she continued to fear for the safety of children and has no intention to leave the UN facility unless a new government is formed without the rival leaders.
“If it means taking 20 years in this camp, I have no choice to risk my life to be killed,” Guek added.
Mary, 25, told Sudan Tribune that she was gang raped at gunpoint after five armed men forced their way into her house in Juba.
“Men came in big number; they told me should I refuse to accept intercourse I will be killed. There was no option to fight and I end up being used,” she said.
Mary, who believes the attack was ethnically motivated, described the ordeal as “the worst kind of human violation”.
Many displaced residents, who have sought protection at UN camps in Juba and elsewhere, accuse the government of being complicit in torture, tribal killings and the confiscation of civilian properties.
Some have told Sudan Tribune that their houses are now occupied by rival tribe members responsible for carrying out ethnic attacks with the government’s backing.
More than 1.5 million people have been displaced since conflict erupted in South Sudan, with aid agencies warning of a humanitarian catastrophe.