UN Calls For Ceasefire In South Sudan

The United Nations has urged all parties involved in the South Sudan conflict to cease hostilities after the government launched a new offensive earlier this week that displaced another 25,000 people. “The renewed upsurge in fighting represents a callous and blatant disregard of the pledges made during the 25 March 2017 Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit to implement a ceasefire and to facilitate humanitarian access,” said Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, in a statement that was released on Saturday.

The government’s military forces carried out the offensive in the north on Wednesday, which led to the fresh displacement of thousands of civilians, who were headed for the border with Sudan. “There can be no military solution to the crisis in South Sudan,” the statement read.

“There can be no military solution to the crisis in South Sudan,” the statement read. In addition, fears of retaliation could mean further devastation for local communities, as soldiers have been known to regularly turn on local civilians following a government combat operation. For instance, last month, refugees reported that government forces deliberately targeted civilians in an attack on a Ugandan border town.

Password Okot, 30, a farmer, told Al Jazeera that government soldiers had killed both his brothers. One brother, a 35-year-old mechanic, Ayela Peter, was picked from a crowd, tied by his ankles and had his throat slit before he was hung from a doorway. “When they saw them slaughtering my brother, people scattered and started running. When they were running, they shot my other brother,” Okot told the publication.

Since the conflict began in December 2013, almost 1 in 3 people in South Sudan have been displaced. The complex humanitarian crisis has seen conditions worsening for civilians, which has been compounded by a violent, multifarious, and evolving conflict, along with drought and other climatic challenges, food insecurity and famine, hyperinflation, and currency depreciation.

With that said, earlier this week, commercial banks in South Sudan completely ran out of cash.

While the beginning of the conflict was centred on two warring parties, namely the government and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement, the conflict has evolved whereby opposition groups continuously localize and create friction.

With this discerned lack of tactical control, fragmented opposition groups frequently pillage local communities and attack civilians.

Despite a peace deal being signed in August 2015 by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar in August, the conflict continues to evolve, thereby causing relentless devastation for affected communities. Human Right Watch’s South Sudan Researcher, Jonathan Pedneault said, “the people of South Sudan were abandoned by their leaders a long time ago. The UN Security Council and regional organizations have failed civilians. Today’s famine is the price of inaction.”