South Sudan: UK Legislators Demand Riek Machar Stops Using Child Soldiers

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — January 20 … Former Vice Speaker of the House of the Lords Baroness Cox, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Lord Avebury, Sir Peter BottomleyMP, Lord Chidgey, Nic Dakin MP, Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Baroness Kinnock, Lord Lea of Crondall, Stephen Mosley MP, The Earl of Sandwich and John Mann MP have sent a letter to the Times pointing out that while hostilities occur in South Sudan, “in the Republic of Sudan a systematic campaign of aerial bombardments and other atrocities continues, committed by the government in Khartoum against civilians in South Kordofan, Blue Nile state and Darfur. As the rest of the world turns its attention to South Sudan, the suffering of these people will be forgotten and aid will be diverted or denied”.

British legislators, all with extensive experience in foreign affairs and African issues in particular, note that “the current conflict has been wrongly caricatured as primarily an ethnic dispute between the two main tribal groups, the Dinka and the Nuer.

Although tribal identity has been a historic basis for conflict and continues to be a factor in recent violence, the current fighting is not simply based on ethnicity – for example, the General Chief of Staff, who remains loyal to the Dinka President of South Sudan, is a Nuer”.

Members of the UK’s House of the Lords and House of Commons have urged “the leader of the rebellion, Riek Machar, to demobilize all child soldiers who have been fighting alongside his forces, including those in the so-called White Army”.

 

The legislators have expressed their support for the current peace talks led by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to secure an immediate cessation of hostilities and urged the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron to add his strong support to the ongoing IGAD negotiations.