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Diplomat vows to talk Cirilo out of violating ceasefire deal

Author: Woja Emmanuel | Published: Thursday, September 10, 2020

From Left: the US and UK Special Representatives for South Sudan, Ambassador Stuart Symington, and Ambassador Robert Fairweather with CTSAMVM monitoring team during a one-day visit to Yei town on Wednesday | Sept. 9, 2020 - Credit | Woja Emmanuel | Eye Radio

The United Kingdom Special Representative to Sudan and South Sudan has pledged to persuade the leader of the National Salvation Front, Thomas Cirilo, to respect the cessation of hostilities agreement.

This week, the UK and US Special Representatives for South Sudan and Sudan travel to Yei with CTSAMM to hear directly from those still affected by conflict.

For the first time since 2017, the Troika Envoys are in Juba together, in spite of COVID.

Speaking to victims of the conflict, the UK special envoy, Robert Fairweather said he has been in communication with Gen Cirillo and other parties following months of spontaneous armed violence in Central Equatoria State.

“I know there have been concerns and there have been attacks by NAS. I am in touch with Thomas Cirilo,” said Fairweather during a one-day visit to the CTSAMVM monitors in Yei town on Wednesday.

For his part, the US Special Representative to South Sudan and Sudan, Stuart Symington said they visited Yei to hear directly from those affected by conflict.

“The purpose of our visit here that is organized by my colleague Ambassador Trott and special representative of United Kingdom, Robert Fairweather is to see the first hands the efforts that the people of South Sudan and their leaders, with the members of the international community including those who work in CTSSAM and the United Nations, and others,” the US special representative to South Sudan and Sudan said.

“What all of you were doing here, to bring the peace the security, the justice, and prosperity that the people of Yei and the people of Central Equatoria and the people of South Sudan.”

The attacks and counterattacks have mainly been between the SSPDF and NAS and SPLA-IO and NAS forces.

The recent widely condemned incident was the attack on a Toyota Land cruiser carrying bodyguards of Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga along the Juba-Lobonok road. It left six officers dead.

The National Salvation Front claimed responsibility for the attack, alleging that the victims were collecting intelligence reports on their defensive positions – a claim the SSPDF denied.

Last week, three people were also shot dead and five others wounded by armed men in Sanjasiri – about 3 miles from Yei town.

Trucks carrying humanitarian assistance to IDPs in Yei were also set ablaze along Juba-Yei road early this month.

Attacks on civilians and security officers in mining areas near Juba have also been reported in the past weeks.

Some of these incidents have been confirmed by NAS as having been conducted by its forces.

These acts of violence are considered a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement and the Rome declaration signed between the government and the hold-out opposition groups.

Robert Fairweather, the UK Special Representative to Sudan and South Sudan, says such attacks must stop.

He promised to continue engaging the warring parties and particular General Thomas Cirillo in a bit to end the hostilities.

“I speak to Thomas Cirilo and I will be speaking to him and I will be pushing him to ensure that any forces are respecting the peace agreement,” he added.

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