JUBA — All eyes will be on the South Sudan capital, Juba tomorrow, Saturday 3 October as warring factions from neighbouring Sudan pen an agreement that will see an end to fighting in the North African country.
A statement from the Office of President Salva Kiir Mayardit indicated that all is set for the signing ceremony of the Sudan Peace Agreement at the John Garang Museleom and the Freedom Hall in the capital Juba.
President Kiir has been at the centre of the peace talks between the Sudan transitional government and leaders from the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of rebel groups. The talks led to the penning of a historic peace agreement on August 31 in Juba aimed at ending nearly two decades of conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, particularly in western Darfur.
The SRF is a coalition of rebels from the war-ravaged western Darfur region, as well as the southern states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan which was formed in 2011.
The Saturday ceremony follows a mediation process that involved a committee chaired by President Kiir’s security advisor Tut Gatluak. The committee traversed the continent visitng warring factions camped in neighbouring countries Arab Republic of Egypt and Chad and in Sudan itself. The factions were officially invited last week to Juba for the final signing ceremony.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok signed a separate agreement in Ethiopia with a faction of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which had refused to agree to the deal struck in Juba, officials on both sides said last week.
Reaching a peace accord with rebel groups has been a priority of Sudan’s transitional government, which came to power after the April 2019 ouster of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir following months of mass protests.
The deal covers key issues around security, land ownership, transitional justice, power sharing and the return of people who fled their homes because of fighting. It also provides for the dismantling of rebel forces and the integration of their fighters into the national army.
Fighting in Darfur alone left around 300,000 people dead after rebels took up arms in 2003. Conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile erupted in 2011 as South Sudan seceded from Sudan, resuming a war that had raged from 1983 to 2005.
Since October 2019, South Sudan has been mediating between the Sudanese government and the armed groups from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions.