South Sudan President Salva Kiir has ordered the release of all political detainees held by his government as part of a recently signed peace deal.
In a presidential order read on state-owned radio on Friday, South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation (SSBC), Kiir directed his army chief to free all political detainees, stop new recruitment into the army and observe the “permanent” ceasefire deal signed in June.
“The SPLA chief of defense force is hereby directed to immediately release the prisoners of war and detainees under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in accordance with provisions of article 216 of the revitalized agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan,” Kiir said, using the acronym for govenment forces, Sudan People’s Liberation Army.
“The SPLA and all other organized forces are hereby directed to ensure that there shall be no revenge, retaliation and violation of the permanent ceasefire,” it added.
Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar and several opposition groups earlier this month signed a new power-sharing deal aimed at ending the five-year old conflict that has devastated the world’s youngest nation.
But the latest deal is being threatened by fresh wave of clashes that erupted shortly after it was signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Both government and the main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), have blamed each other for the renewed fighting in the northern and southern parts of the country.
A group of African diplomats in South Sudan on Thursday called on the country’s leaders not to squander the peace deal and urged them to ensure that is it fully implemented.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed, following renewed violence in the capital, Juba, in July 2016.