In a letter address to the interim Chairman of the RJMEC on the 22nd March 2022, signed by the acting Chief of General Staff, SPLA-IO (Co-Chair of the Joint Defense Board- JDB) Lt.Gen.Gabriel Duop Iam, Chair of JMCC, SPLA-IO Lt.Gen. Kong Gatkuoth Kerjiok, and the Acting Chair of JTSC, SPLA-IO Maj. Gen. Dhilling Keah Chol, SPLA-IO, suspended their participation in the Security Mechanisms meetings, including the RJMEC meetings.
According to the letter, the SPLA-IO members of the security mechanisms have been presenting violation of the cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) made by the Peace Partners (IG, NSS, and SSPDF) in various CTSAMM and RJMEC (FORUMS) Plenary Meetings since the beginning of the Implementation of the Transitional Security Agreement (TSA).
It also indicated that so many issues such as unprovoked attacks on the SPLM/SPLA-IO AREAS, cantonment sites, and the unified forces training centers by the IG, NSS, and SSPDF had been ongoing even during the Agreement, irregulates in attendance of Security Mechanisms members from SPLM-IG to Security Mechanism Meeting, facilitation and the encouragement of defection have been raised by the parties but haven’t been address or resolved hence them seeing no logical reasons in the participation.
When asked in an exclusive interview with Eye Radio(Wednesday 23nd March 2022), on its (SSCC) view on this move, General Secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches, Fr. James OYET said, “The move is unfortunate, it’s very unfortunate to the people of South Sudan, it’s very unfortunate for us in the Churches of South Sudan, because we had believed that we are on the same boat…… moving forward to come on the same page in regard to the security mechanism agreement.”
“All these security agreements, the CTSAMM, the JDB,…….. even the main peace moderate body JMEC, these are all bodies created under the agreement, and they are to help us monitor the situation if the IO which is a party to the agreement pulls out of this it’s very unfortunate”. He stressed.
In his interview, he mentioned that we need to pray and give all parties time to dialogue.
“But I want to pray that we give time to dialogue, the political leadership should dialogue among themselves, to see what a way is forward because enough with war,” he added.
In his interview, he reflected on the Peace Retreat visit to the Vatican of the president of South Sudan, His Excellency President Salva Kiir, and the Vice President, His Excellency Dr.Riak Machar, promise not to go back or take their people back to war. He asked the leaders to talk among themselves.
In his closing remark, he said that the political leaders of South Sudan know what the view of the church is on the implementation of the Peace and its processes and stressed that South Sudan needs Peace. “The political leadership in the Republic of South Sudan know(s), what is the view of the church, implement the peace and lead the people of South Sudan …… all these unfortunate situations should not be a song that should disturb us, we need to solve it out, they are situations that are unfortunate, we don’t walk out to solve things, we walk in to solve things out.”
“Party leaders South Sudan needs peace; South Sudan needs services, South Sudan needs your contribution in the implementation of the Peace. Do it for the people of South Sudan, not yourself”. He lamented.
Under the Action Plan for Peace, the South Sudan Council of Churches has been among the prominent advocates for implementing R-ARCSS; its main body has been following and monitoring the peace processes.
The council’s current mission covers civic education, advocacy, peace, reconciliation, and relief.