Feb 5, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — The government of South Sudan, which split into two major factions under the incumbent President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his former deputy, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, had witnessed a major call for peace and reconciliation in the country.
A senior official in Salva Kiir government, Hon. Isaiah Chol Aruai, who chairs the National Bureau of Statistics and Census, and two other officials, Mr. Mading Akueth and Mr. Jacob Alier have been safely released and facilitated back to Juba after two days in Machar-held territory at Jiech Payam of Ayod county, South Sudan.
According to the SPLM/SPLA [in Opposition], the three officials, who traveled in a UN helicopter illegally landed at Jiech Payam without prior communication with the Opposition’s field officers.
“These three presons were detained by SPLM/SPLA county authority in Ayod when they landed illegally at Jiec Payam without prior communication” said the SPLM/SPLA Deputy Chairman for External Relations Committee, Amb. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, the former South Sudan ambassador to Washington.
Since December 2013, South Sudan conflict has claim over 50, 000 lives as approximated by the International Crisis Group. Neither side in the conflict has maintained proper records of death and prisoners of war.
The release of the three officials was least expected given that the government side has kidnapped or detained, at least, six humanitarian workers in Malakal, Maban, Juba, Mapel and other parts of the country.
Among the three UN employees, who were kidnapped at Malakal airport in October 2014 is Mark Diang, whose whereabouts is yet to be traced.
Despite the hard feelings that Salva Kiir government has “led a genocide against one particular tribe, the Nuer”, and did very little to intervene in the government backed attack on civilians, mostly Nuer IDPs at the UN base in Bor last year, the local authority in Nuer-dominated Ayod county has accorded the detainees “the best treatment according to the international humanitarian law”
“The office of deputy chairperson would like to inform the families and relatives of the detained persons that, … they were accorded the best treatment by our local authorities according to the international humanitarian law in regards to unarmed civilians in arms conflict” Said Amb Lol.
The opposition, SPLM/SPLA, has taken a generous step to encourage dialogue and promote peace among the people of South Sudan, according to former South Sudan ambassador to Washington.
“ We are releasing comrade Isaiah Chol Aruai as a good will gesture to encourage dialogue and promote peace among the people of South Sudan and the two warring parties” Amb. Lol Gatkuoth said.
The SPLM/SPLA calls on the United Nation and International humanitarian agencies working in South Sudan to abide by the law, rules and regulations governing South Sudan.
“We encourage all and International humanitarian agencies to work in transparent manner with both parties as to avoid repetition of such incidences.” Lol concludes.
Although Juba abundantly thanks their comrades in Oppositions, the UN Helicopter has been detained in the town of Bor until the United Nations is brought to account for landing a government official in a “rebel-held territory”.
According to Micheal Makuie Lueth, the Minister of Information, UNMISS must explain to the government of South Sudan the circumstances that led to such mysterious incident.
The minister, who warned in the past that anyone who speaks with the rebels is a rebel, has reportedly spent a good chunk of his last two days convincing the top SPLM/SPLA leadership, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and Gen. Taban Deng Gai to release the government officials without preconditions.
Public Reaction on the release of detainees and what its symbolizes:
The two sides in the conflict, for the first time, celebrated the decision of one party, the SPLM/SPLA[IO]. Members of Salva Kiir administration, relatives, friends and supporters have thanks the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny for the outstanding example.
Although the SPLM/SPLA [IO] has released a few other officials that include Jonglei State’s Paramount Chief of Duk County, James Cuei Leek in March 2014, the release of Brig Gen. Isaiah Chol Aruai, who is also the chairman of Kongor Community, has been heavily celebrated in Bor and Juba, South Sudan.
According to Kuir E Garang, a South Sudanese-Canadian, the release of Isaiah Chol and his colleagues is a good news that South Sudan has not seen for a very long time.
“The release of Choldit, Mading and Aleer is a good news in a country that has not seen such a thing for a very long time. It shows South Sudanese can solve their problems if no IGAD stands in the way.” Kuir E Garang, a South Sudanese-Canadian state.
United by the incident, many young South Sudanese on social media are calling for peace, unity, forgiveness and reconciliation in the country.
“Let’s applaud SPLM-IO and all those involved for this milestone and let’s hope that marks the end of tough rhetoric and brutality from both the government and opposition sides. Let’s also hope the move to release the three is a sign of greater things to come: peace, unity, forgiveness and reconciliation. Clearly we are all one” Chol De Awëër-Guetkëër
The supporters of SPLM/SPLA [IO], particularly the Nuer, are calling on Salva Kiir government to release the UN employees, kidnapped by government allied militias for being ethnic Nuer in Malakal, Maban and Juba.
“So my point is that, killing of an innocent person is not right and that’s why Nuer don’t do it from creation and if Salva Kiir doesn’t like to see his innocents killed, even though they would never be killed, then why does he enjoy killing of innocent Nuer? He too must release those that they have kidnapped because their lives matter to us the same way” Said Daya Batim Moses.