South Sudan to suspend attacks

2014-05-07 22:20


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Addis Ababa - South Sudan's government said on Wednesday it had ordered a one-month suspension of attacks on rebel forces as international pressure mounts for an end to an ethnic conflict that has raised fears of genocide.

South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said the government's commitment to honour a "month of tranquillity", proposed on Monday at peace talks in Ethiopia, meant the army could still fight back if attacked.

There was no immediate word from the rebels.

"We have already given our forces an order," Lueth told a news conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where months of peace talks have made little progress.

A ceasefire deal struck in January swiftly fell apart, with each side blaming the other for fighting that has exacerbated deep-rooted tensions between President Salva Kiir's Dinka people and the Nuer tribe of his sacked deputy president, Riek Machar. The conflict has largely followed ethnic faultlines.

Kiir and Machar are due to hold face-to-face talks in Addis Ababa on Friday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Juba last week that Kiir had committed himself to talks on a transitional government, and has threatened Machar with sanctions if he does not meet Kiir.

South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin told Reuters on Wednesday that the plan envisaged a "transitional process" that would last until the next election in 2015.

"President Kiir will stay in power until the elections take place," he said.

Machar has called for Kiir to resign, saying he lost the people's trust after fighting broke out in the presidential guard in December and quickly spread across the country, which is about the size of Texas.


Thousands of civilians have been killed, and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

In a sign of growing frustration at the failure of South Sudan's leaders to end the bloodshed, the United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on two commanders on opposing sides of the ethnic violence.

The sanctions were imposed under an executive order that US President Barack Obama signed in April to hold to account those responsible for the unrest in South Sudan - whose secession from Sudan in 2011 was seen as a major US policy success.

Norway, another of South Sudan's main Western sponsors and donors, also made clear that its patience was running out.

"We made it clear that the international community will react even firmer in the coming months if they don't take responsibility in ending the fighting and find a solution for an inclusive government for the future," Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Bende told Reuters in Addis Ababa.

Benjamin said in Juba that he had understood from Kerry that the regional African group IGAD, which is sponsoring the peace talks, would take the lead on any foreign sanctions.

"We were surprised that the United States pre-empted what they had agreed upon," he said, although he added that he doubted relations with Washington would be damaged.

The sanctions targeted Peter Gadet, an army commander loyal to Machar, and Major-General Marial Chanuong, head of Kiir's presidential guard. One US official said both men had "blood on their hands".

Read more on:    south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Prince George the green prince?

Prince Charles hopes his grandson's love of the outdoors will become a passion for the environment.



One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly


The pace may be slow today and you may struggle to get things off the ground level, but it is important to focus on the more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.