The National Salvation Front (NAS) is troubled by the unbalanced statement issued by the Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Mr Augustino Njoroge, claiming a violation of the Cessation of Hostility Agreement (CoHA) by NAS.
Regarding the events referred to by Mr Njoroge, the NAS forces came under attacks by the South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF) and the militia affiliated to it (Mathiang Anyoor).
The NAS forces were left with no choice but to exercise their natural right of self-defence.
Surprisingly, there was no mention of the SSPDF triggering role that led to those confrontations in Mr Njoroge’s statement.
To set the record straight, the CoHA is facilitatory as well as part of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). It’s not a stand-alone agreement.
Furthermore, it must be recalled that the NAS signed the CoHA in December 2017 without conducting any military operations against any entities.
The National Salvation Front is non-signatory to R-ARCSS and thus is under no obligation to the terms of the said agreement.
Notwithstanding the above, the National Salvation Front, in good faith and out of a genuine love for peace, chose to observe the CoHA in the hope and spirit of creating a conducive environment for a negotiated settlement that is inclusive, just, and sustainable.
Regrettably, we have witnessed with great dismay the numerous ceasefire violations by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), now called SSPDF, that drew no condemnations from the previous and the present Chairpersons of JMEC, Mr Mogae and Mr Njoroge, respectively.
Early last week, it was widely reported that the SSPDF Chief of Staff, General Gabriel Jok Riak and the SPLM IO Deputy Chief of Staff, General James Koang Ranley, have resolved at the Joint Defense Board (JDB) meetings in Juba to carry out joint operations against NAS.
These anti-peace pronouncements would undoubtedly derail the fragile peace process.
To our great disappointment, the RJMEC showed no reaction and kept silent on the matter.
The above account undermines the RJMEC stature as a fair-handed body, and as such, would not be helpful for trust and confidence building in the entire peace process.
Hence, the National Salvation Front urges the RJMEC to refrain from the double standard policy that characterised some of its acts since its establishment.
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Dr Lako Jada Kwajok
Chairman of NAS-IRC