Sudanese celebrate amid calls for lasting peace

S. Sudan President Kiir Mayardit

S. Sudan President Kiir Mayardit

South Sudanese on Wednesday celebrated the signing of a power-sharing deal aimed at ending a brutal five-year civil war amid calls for lasting peace in the world’s youngest nation.

 

Regional dignitaries and South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar who signed a revitalised peace deal in September with President Salva Kiir in Ethiopia, joined thousands of South Sudanese in the capital Juba to celebrate the peace deal amid tight security.

 

Speaking during the celebrations, President Kiir said the five-year-old civil war in his country has come to an end with the celebrations.

 

President Kiir also declared he has forgiven his opponents and is ready to move forward as part of efforts to end conflict in the country.

 

“I want to reiterate that the war in South Sudan has come to an end and we have forgiven each other and we have decided to move forward,” Kiir told thousands of people who gathered in Juba to celebrate the peace deal.

 

The president said he has taken personal responsibility for the suffering of South Sudanese as a result of the conflict.

 

“You have endured immense suffering and the weight of responsibility heavily falls on my shoulders as your president and I deeply regret the physical, psychological, and emotional wounds you have undeservedly endured.

 

As your president, I want to apologise on behalf of all the parties to the conflict,” said Kiir.

 

During the celebrations, Kiir ordered the release of James Gatdet Dak, a former spokesman of Machar, saying although Gatdet has been sentenced to death, his release is for the sake of peace.

 

Kiir also said he would release William John Endley, a South African national who was Machar’s adviser yesterday after which he will be deported to his home country.

 

The South African, who is a retired army colonel, was also sentenced to death early this year on charges of espionage, conspiracy to overthrow the government and supplying weapons.

 

The war is over and this celebration is testimony that we are committed to the agreement and we must commit ourselves to it,” Kiir added.

 

Machar, who returned to Juba for the first time in two years since fleeing the country in 2016, took part in the peace celebration, saying that he came to Juba to show his commitment to the latest peace deal and end the conflict in South Sudan. -Xinhua

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