'South Sudan again at peace,' says 1st vice-president
South Sudan's 1st Vice-President Taban Deng Ga Deng assures Kenya that peace has returned
By Magdalene Mukami and Andrew Wasike
South Sudan’s first vice-president said Wednesday that he had assured Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta that peace had returned to his country after a period of fresh strife.
"We came here to meet our brother Uhuru Kenyatta to update him on the current issues in South Sudan,” First Vice-President Taban Deng Ga Deng told a news conference in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. “Is the country going back to war or peace? I am glad to inform you that the SPLM and the opposition have decided to stick to the position of implementing peace."
He said cohesive leadership was lacking in South Sudan, charging that parallel armies in the country led to the killings in the capital Juba and had caused former Vice-President Riek Machar to leave.
Deng accused Machar of stalling the peace pact by running a parallel government before violence rocked the capital in July.
He said that Machar is in hiding, planning to start another civil war.
"The option is not going back to war but to continue the implementation of peace and we have told our brother President Uhuru Kenyatta about this," Deng said.
Deng said the country has started uniting the forces of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) and the government to ensure that violence never erupts in the world’s youngest nation.
Deng admitted the war-torn country has been facing difficulties in delivering services to its citizens due to inflation brought by violence.
"We have appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to help us to boost our economy,” he said. “We are going to send our technical team from the economic cluster and the central bank of South Sudan and they will sit with our brothers in Kenya so that we see how you can help us."
Deng said the country would start producing oil again by December.
He dismissed allegations by human rights groups that South Sudanese troops raped and beat foreign aid workers as well as killing a journalist. Deng said his government had formed committees to investigate these allegations.
"A number of soldiers have already been punished and capital punishment was applied, but this was not shared with the press," he said.
"I did not see any reason to go into crisis again in 2016. Wherever [Machar] is, let him ask for a peaceful passage or stay in peace wherever he is… he should wait for an election in 2018 and denounce violence," he added.
Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said that South Sudan is producing 130,000 barrels of oil a day.
"Before the war we used to produce around 500,000 barrels per day. By November, we will be increasing production so that we can supply Ethiopia with diesel and petrol."