IGAD deploys team to monitor cease-fire in South Sudan

Nairobi, Feb 2: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional bloc, Sunday dispatched its first team of observers to the conflict-ridden South Sudan to monitor the cease-fire.

A statement from IGAD said a 14-member team is expected to meet state and non-state stakeholders including international organisations in Juba and several other places in South Sudan, reported Xinhua.

“An advance team of the IGAD Joint Technical Committee left for Juba this (Sunday) morning to start the process of establishing the monitoring and verification mechanism for the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement,” IGAD said.

The decision to deploy the team was taken after leaders of IGAD member countries held a meeting Friday on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Ethiopia.

There have been accusations and counter-accusations on non-compliance to the agreements since the inking of the cessation of hostilities and release of political detainers in Addis Ababa.

The agreement provides for cessation of all military actions that might undermine the process, standing down of forces, protection of civilians, opening of humanitarian access, as well as the formation of a monitoring and verification mechanism.

The agreement on the status of detainees calls for an expedited process in the release of detainees whose contribution in the ownership of the peace process is deemed important.

The IGAD said the team would also assess the situation on the ground before the deployment of the monitoring and verification teams in various parts of the country.