Emmanuel Jal interview on South Sudan – Voice of Russia UK

15 Jan Emmanuel Jal interview on South Sudan – Voice of Russia UK

Emmanuel Jal was interviews on the conflict in South Sudan.

  – South Sudan: “We’re a young nation and should be supported”

Listen to the broadcast here: Voice of Russia UK

South Sudan is less than three years old and it is certainly going through some growing pains. Nearly 200,000 people have been displaced and at least 1,000 killed in fighting between the Dinka and Nuer communities. VoR’s Brendan Cole hosts a discussion.

South Sudan’s army is advancing on the key rebel-held centres of Bentiu and Bor. Regionally brokered talks to declare a ceasefire have stalled.

Earlier, rebels in South Sudan were confident that “full reconciliation” can be achieved with the government as the two sides hold ceasefire talks in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

President Salva Kiir is a Dinka and rebel leader Riek Machar is a Nuer, although each has prominent allies within the other’s ethnic group.

The violence was sparked last year after Salva Kiir sacked Machar as his deputy. South Sudan declared independence in July 2011 to much fanfare following a brutal civil war that pitted it with the north.

It had oil and the backing of a number of celebrities, but what is the likelihood that a country with such ethnic divisions is able to function effectively? What is the role of the West? What future is there for South Sudan?

Joining VoR are:

Dr Douglas H. Johnson, a Sudan historian and author of The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars 

Ahmed Soliman, a research assistant on the Africa Programme at Chatham House

Emmanuel Jal, a South Sudanese musician, former child soldier, and founder of the group We Want Peace

Dr Jok Madut Jok, Chairman of South Sudan’s Sudd Institute think-tank and deputy minister in the government of South Sudan

Mading Ngor, a South Sudanese journalist and editor of newsudanvision.com

Soundbites:

Emmanuel Jal

“At the moment there are a lot of things happening. It was a political situation that has turned tribal. The government wanted to silence its opponents. A lot of different tribes died in Juba but apparently the presidential guard targeted the Nuer people. The good thing now is that it is reducing, both sides have begun to stop the violence.”

Mading Ngor

“For me a rebellion has opened, people are being killed, property has been destroyed and the future of the country is in jeopardy. What is going on is worse than a coup because it trickles down to the average Sudanese.”

Dr Jok Madut Jok

“It was promised in 2011 that the state would stand on strong military institutions. Now political unity has been eroded, after independence we no longer have that unifying role in seeing South Sudan.”

Ahmed Soliman

“I think what you see is a de facto one party state. You don’t have the institutions in place to build the state. The government has not been able to transition from being a military-led government to a civilian-led government.”

Dr Douglas H. Johnson

“One of the unique features of South Sudan’s independence is that was not a negotiation between a colonial power and a local nationalist elite. It came as the express will of the people. That is important to remember when thinking of the future of South Sudan. What happened in Juba was men in uniforms killing civilians; you do not have a mobilisation of civilians killing civilians. The Nuer and Dinka are not single tribes. They are no more similar tribes than the Scots or the English.”

(VoR)

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