Obasanjo-led peace panel arrives South Sudan

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The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan has embarked on a 10-day mission to the country amidst renewed violence in parts of the country’s oil rich regions.

The Olusegun Obasanjo-led AU Commission of Inquiry arrived in Juba on Monday night, a statement by the AU media relations said on Tuesday.

Listed as members of the inquiry are Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, Ms. Bineta Diop, Prof. Pacifique Manirakiza and Lady Justice Sophia Akuffo and AUC technical support team.

The field mission is an effort to end the three-month political conflict.

The first violence broke out in South Sudan in mid-December last year, following an alleged attempted over-throw of the Salva Kiir-led administration.

The alleged overthrow was carried out by the ruling Party’s SPLM/A, an opposition group led by former Vice President, Reik Machar.

The violence continued unabated in some parts of the country leaving hundreds of thousands dead with no fewer than one million others displaced.

The displaced are reported to have taken refuge in neighbouring countries of Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya.

Renewed violence broke out on Thursday last week in Bentiu, an oil rich region between the two factions, killing more than 120 persons, who had taken refuge in a mosque.

According the UN officials in Juba, hundreds of others escaped into bushes and neighbouring villages.

According to the statement made available to NAN in Addis Ababa, the commission would hold consultations with President Salva Kiir and other top government officials including the Speaker of Parliament.

Consultation will be held with the Deputy Speaker, Defence Minister, Ministers of Security, Interior, Gender and Child and Social Welfare.

The commission is scheduled to also meet with the Commander of the Presidential Guard and Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS.

The Commission will also meet with former Vice President Riek Machar and the opposition group.

It said, “It will conduct wide-ranging meetings with stakeholders including the Chairman of South Sudan Human Rights Commission, Chairman of National Assembly Human Rights Committee and Civil Society Alliance.

“Others are the Chairman of South Sudan Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation, Church leaders and the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation, among others.”

The commission was established by the AUC Chairperson, Dlamini Zuma, on March 6 in pursuant to a decision of the 411th Meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council.

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