Four years into the South Sudan crisis, a solution is yet to be found. Gruesome crimes continue, with millions displaced and hundreds of thousands facing famine, according to numerous reports from Human Rights Watch. The group also points an accusing finger to both government and rebel leaders.
Various attempts by regional leaders to come up with lasting solutions to the conflict has often met with complications. The split that exist within the rebels is not making matters easier.
A three-day Igad Council of Ministers in July to come up with realistic timelines for the implementation 2015 peace agreement failed to come up with solutions. Brazille Musumba, the Igad communications and media advisor, said the dynamics have changed with many splits within the government and the rebels since the signing of the agreement in 2015. It will be necessary therefore to accommodate the new players who have so far come on the scene.
Attempts to unite the rebel factions ahead of the reconciliation talks in Arusha took place in Entebbe under the auspices of Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni – and finally saw three major SPLM groups (SPLM-In Government, SPLM-In Opposition and SPLM of Former Detainees) signing a reconciliation agreement on July 27, 2017. According to sources, there were several factors pushing those in the opposition to agree to the reunification talks. These included the lack of a unifying opposition figure and economic hardship most former government officials in opposition are facing abroad.
And while these discussions are taking place, thousands of civilians are being forced out of their communities and homes – and soldiers from both sides are busing innocent civilians. The regional authority and those searching for a solution must leave no stone unturned to bring back peace and unity in a country that has known little stability since independence, and the continued isolation of rebel leader Riek Machar may not be the ideal solution to the crisis.