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The stand of Atar Community in Juba on Security and states

Press Statement

First of all, the Atar Community congratulates the parties to the R-ARCSS and the regional bodies once more, for the positive steps taken in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement and for relative calmness which is being witnessed the country now.

When the R-ARCSS was signed in September 2018, we thought the SPLA/M-IO of Dr. Riek Machar would respect and implement the agreement which his movement had signed, by evacuating and leaving our towns, our villages, our houses, the schools of our children, the health centers and worship centers, the public and private institutions.

Unfortunately, instead of doing so, the SPLM/A-IO opted to violate the security arrangements stipulated by the R-ARCSS agreement, where they intentionally opted forcefully not to leave the civilians facilities in Atar area to cantonment area.

Instead of leaving the area, the SPLA-IO had deployed more forces armed with heavy war weapons and warships which are still in Atar area up to date, where they continue terrorizing the IDPs with more killing, threatening, preventing and abstracting the smooth repatriation of the Atar IDPs and refugees to their God given lands.

It is now more than a year, since the agreement was signed in September 2018, but the SPLA-IO forces of Riek Machar are still intentionally and forcefully occupying our towns, our villages, our houses, our schools, hospitals and churches and there is no sign and indication that shows that they are leaving the aforementioned residents and properties of the Atar IDPs and Refugees according to the R-ARCSS.

The purpose of this press release is to urge the President of the Republic and the Revitalized Join Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC), CTSAM, IGAD, the AU and NPTC to request the SPLA/M-IO of RiekMachar for immediate evacuation of their forces from Atar area for they are occupying civilians’ houses, villages, schools, churches which belong to the Atar IDPs and Refugees who were displaced by his forces between January 2014 and end of 2015.

They must leave Atar area without fail. The SPLA-IO forces of Riek Machar were not in Atar area before December 2013 and there is no any justified reason that makes them to stay in civilians’ area in Atar after signing the R-ARCSS. The presence of the SPLA-IO forces in Atar area is psychologically torturing the Atar IDPs and refugees who survived the mass killing of their beloved ones, who are innocent and unarmed civilians in Atar area.

The Atar community as peace abiding people has been respecting the signed peace agreements, including, the ceasefire agreements, the ARCSS 2015 agreement and the R-ARCSS and they have been patient and refrained to take law in their hands to address their grievances, including mass massacring of innocent Atar civilians to liberate their land from occupation of the SPLA-IO forces of Riek Machar.

Based on the above reasons, we would like to appeal to the President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit and the R-JMEC, the IGAD envoy to South Sudan, AU and the UNMISS to request Dr. Riek Machar to withdraw the SPLA-IO forces from Atar County, and leave our villages and our houses in peaceful manner to avoid any inconvenience that may occur due to illegal and intentional occupation of the Atar area.

On the issue of number of states and their boundaries, the Atar Community strongly supports the position of Padang Community Union regarding lawful retention of the current 32 states. We support the referendum as mechanism of determining the number of states as it is stipulated in the R-ARCSS.

Finally, we request National and Central Upper Nile State governments to provide protection to the IDPs and Refugees who are voluntarily willing to return to their areas including the people of Atar.

Thanks

Mr. Thon Mayuat Turuk

Secretary of Information and Culture                        

Atar Community Leadership Council                                           

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