The Rally for Peace and Democracy South Sudan (RPD) is profoundly perturbed following recent reports by media and human rights groups that the Government of South Sudan is importing $38 million worth of military hardware comprising missile and grenade launchers, pistols, machine guns and ammunition’s. The reports present evidence of the source of the weapons (Hong Kong, China), the name of the manufacturer and consigning company (NORINCO), and quantity and categories of the weapons. This irresponsible act is taking place despite:
1. Authoritative predictions of imminent humanitarian disaster as expressed by highly-placed personalities and none other than the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Man-made food insecurity situation of the worse kind, affecting one-third of the population of South Sudan, is said to be looming menacingly as a result of the ongoing armed conflict.
2. The Government of South Sudan signed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, which in unequivocal terms states that the parties to the conflict shall “refrain from taking any actions that could lead to military confrontations including all movement of forces, ammunition resupply, or any other action that could be viewed as confrontational”. Hardly a month has gone past when leader of the government, Lt. General Salva Kiir Mayardit, re-committed to honouring the CoH.
3. Oil production – the main source of income to the Government of South Sudan – has fallen by about two-thirds, which has led to heavy borrowing by this government and salaries of civil servants and uniformed forces are paid in small arrears after elapse of two to three months. In addition, essential social services (health and education) have suffered severely since independence.
4. Due to ill-advised and unilateral decision to close oil production for a good part of 2013, the government was obliged to implement austerity measures, which led to tremendous economic melt-down. This forced some population to return to the republic of Sudan or back to exile in neighbouring countries.
5. China, the sole supplier of the military stockpile, is a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council, which has strongly condemned military atrocities in South Sudan and even pledged to contribute with more peace keeping forces to enforce and maintain peace in the country. China is also the leading importer of the South Sudanese oil and a leading investor inits oil industry.
RPD reserves no words to condemn both the Government of South Sudan and that of China for their reckless and callous move to refuel the bloody conflict in South Sudan. Taking it further, RPD strongly urges the United Nations, the African Union and European Union to block the arms consignment on the account that it is a flagrant violation of the internationally brokered Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and also an act that is definitely going to increase to the already high death toll. RPD further urges imposition of military embargo on South Sudan and holding its president accountable for the deliberate violation of the cease fire agreement.
RPD Interim Secretariat
July 22, 2014