South Sudan’s government has agreed to let in a new international protection force to try to save a peace deal. The announcement, which was made by the East African regional body, Igad, and confirmed by South Sudan cabinet minister Dr Martin Elia Lomuro, is good news for people of South Sudan who have endured a bloody tribal war.
The development follows a meeting of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the IGAD on 5th August in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Assembly endorsed the outcome of the meeting of the East African Chiefs of Defense Staff held on July 29, in Addis Ababa, on the deployment of Juba Security Force to salvage the situation in South Sudan.
Ethnic clashes last month left at least 300 people dead and threatened to revive a civil war that has killed tens of thousands in the newest African nation. The country got independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, after a popular referendum, but events since then the country has suffered on and off tribal wars.
Deployment of a new peace force in South Sudan should be fast tracked to avoid more bloodshed and internal displacement of South Sudanese people, coupled with the massive exodus of refugees to neighbouring countries. The situation in South Sudan also presents a serious threat to regional peace, security and stability.
The regional countries have taken the initiative which perhaps they should have taken the first time clashes broke out years ago, but better late than never.
If implemented with urgency, the new peace keeping force will come as relief to the suffering ordinary people and thousands of people from the region doing businesses in South Sudan.
This pronouncement is also a strong warning to the warring parties in the conflict that South Sudan is bigger than individual egos.