By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has warned the opposition groups to refrain from recruiting a new soldiers into its ranks, stressing the move may violate the signed revitalised peace deal.
President Kiir and key opposition leaders, including main opposition leader Riek Machar, signed a revitalized peace deal on September last year, in an attempt to end the five – years civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions from their homes.
President Kiir, who returned to Wau town on Tuesday to resume his peace tour after he cut short on Sunday to received Ethiopia prime minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea president Isaias Afwerki on Monday in Juba, where they discussed peace in South Sudan and regional cooperation matters.
Addressing a public rally in Wau town on Tuesday, president Kiir unveiled that opposition groups are still recruiting troops in many parts of South Sudan.
“The opposition groups are trying to recruit soldiers to increase the number of their forces and take control of new territories. These two things violate the agreement,” said Kiir. “Don’t accept the recruitment exercise. The opposition should understand that the recruitment of forces and occupation of new areas violate the peace agreement and could take people back to war,” he warned.
The opposition groups are yet to comment on the new development.
Both sides are reported recruiting new forces to their ranks and files before a new transitional government is formed in May.
President Kiir acknowledged that implementation of the revitalized peace agreement still faces challenges due to lack of funds.
During his meeting with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during their meeting s in Juba on Monday, Kiir says he asked the two former foes to lobby the international community and donors to allocate funds for the implementation of peace deal.
“I asked them to talk to the donors to give money for the implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan. Whether they would do or not, I have done my part,” said Kiir.
President Kiir has repeatedly asked the people of Wau to forgive him and others for past mistakes.
“I want to apologize for what happened from 2013 until 2016. What happened has caused suffering to you.” “I want to apologize because I am the leader even If I did nothing wrong. I feel I made a mistake because it is my party that caused suffering to my people,” said Kiir.
The SPLM party fractured into different factions after the political war erupted in December 2013 between president Kiir – Dinka tribe and his former deputy Dr. Riek Machar – Nuer tribe, a violence split into ethnic lines.
Kiir calls for forgiveness
President Kiir says the spirit of forgiveness among the people of Bahr al Ghazal region should remain Paramount.
“I want you to forget what happened in the past and live in peaceful coexistence. Nobody should take law into his or her hands to go and revenge, it is not time for revenge, it is time for peace and forgiveness,” president told the thpusands of crowds.
“Border disputes should not cause fighting among us. Nobody should fight his brother because of border disputes between two states. Committees will be formed to solve the issue of boundaries, so don’t fight,” he further warns, in reference to new 32 States.
President Kiir, has also called on internally displaced persons who are still sheltering at the UN camp in Wau to return to their homes.
Of recently, South Sudan Catholic Church Bishops warns that the peace deal is likely to collapse, saying the leaders are focusing on power sharing and seats distribution among themselves instead of implementing peace process.
President Kiir began his peace tour to Bahr el Ghazal region a week ago, focused on disseminates the peace deal and to get a first – hand information from the citizens.
South Sudan gained her independence in 2011 from Sudan after the two decades of civil war, but Africa youngest nation descended into another civil war.
In next transitional government, which is due to be formed in May, president Kiir will work again with Dr. Riek Machar as a first vice president.
All the opposition groups – once fighting President Kiir’s regime are now in Juba for peace implementation.