South Sudan leaders order cease fire

President of Sudan Salva Kiir appending his signature to the deal in Juba this week, as regional leaders witness.

President of Sudan Salva Kiir appending his signature to the deal in Juba this week, as regional leaders witness.

Both leaders of South Sudan have declared the cease fire as dictated by the recently signed peace accord brokered by IGAD, regional leaders and the international community.

President Salva Kiir, who belatedly signed the deal on Wednesday was the first to order his forces to halt fighting rebel forces and ensure permanent cease fire takes effect Midnight Thursday.

And the rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar followed suite and instructed his forces Friday to stop fighting government forces by end of the day Saturday.

The peace agreement that was first signed by rebel leader Riek Machar in Ethiopia on August 17, and then by President Kiir 10 days later in Juba, required cessation of fighting within 72 hours after signing and the decision by both leaders to order a permanent cease fire is in line with the key provision.

“Reference to Chapter II article 1.1 of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan signed on 17th August 2015 in Addis Ababa, and 26th August 2015 in Juba, I, Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM/SPLA), hereby order all SPLM/SPLA forces to cease fire in the country as of midnight 29th August 2015,” Machar’s executive order reads in part.

If implemented the deal is designed to end the 20-month conflict that has destabilized Africa’s youngest nation and forced more than 2.2 million South Sudanese out of their homes and country.

Both leaders have recently been under intense pressure from regional leaders and the international community including AU, UN and US to implement this latest agreement or risk crippling sanctions.

“The United States stands ready to support the implementation of the agreement, to work with the men and women of South Sudan who are committed to peace, and to hold to account those who would undermine the agreement or violate the ceasefire.” John Kirby, US state department spokesman said in a statement this week.

Top military officials from both sides are due to meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next week to work mechanisms of implementing the security related provisions.