South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Wednesday said the peace agreement signed with rebels marks the end of over four years of conflict as it brings members of the various warring factions into one national army during the start of the transitional period.
“My take is that the best agreement is the one on the security arrangement not only because it was straight forward but it provided that the transitional period will start with a neutral force,” Kiir told leaders from the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Juba .
He said the army will recruit from the 64 ethnic groups in South Sudan that will give the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) the desired national outlook and character.
President Kiir signed the peace agreement on August 5 in Khartoum with Riek Machar, leader of the main rebel group SPLM/A-IO and other opposition groups which was mediated by the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir under the auspices of the East African bloc IGAD.
According to the peace deal, civilians will be disarmed throughout South Sudan which the president said are crucial for security to improve, since the civil population is awash with illegal guns that aid the rampant cattle raiding and revenge killings through community clashes that have greatly contributed to loss of lives and property.
“As I said in Khartoum this peace is the most important for me and I reiterate that it marks the end of war in South Sudan forever, but that can never happen if our people continue forming militia groups which are based on ethnicity and regions,” said Kiir.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
A 2015 peace agreement was shattered when the warring parties renewed fighting in July 2016 in the capital, forcing rebel leader Riek Machar to flee into exile.
The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.