UN says South Sudan factions still stockpiling weapons

SPLA soldiers drive in a truck in Juba

A United Nations (UN) panel of experts says that South Sudan’s government and the rebels are both violating the peace deal by stockpiling weapons.  The UN Security Council is however not moving forward with the arms embargo and sanctions it has repeatedly threatened for such actions.

Reports from the oil-rich country show that both sides are “persistently failing to implement a permanent ceasefire” and maintain security arrangements meant to help set up a transitional government.

The current Security Council’s president held a briefing on South Sudan on Wednesday to tell reporters that the council’s members have a “range of views” on taking punitive action.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in South Sudan since December 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused his then deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup, leading to factions loyal to each side beginning to fight each other.

The two sides signed a peace deal in August but fighting continues to riddle Africa’s youngest nation.

The panel of experts went ahead to report that Kiir in October “unequivocally undermined” the power-sharing formula that underlies the peace agreement by increasing the number of states in the country from 10 to 28 and saying the governors of the new states would be appointed by him.

The report also says that the humanitarian situation in South Sudan keeps on getting worse, “with 3.9 million people nationwide now facing severe food insecurity.”