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Swift action needed in South Sudan

Dec 20, 2013, 9:57 AM

It is great and even timely to hear that South Sudanese President Salva Kiir held talks in Juba on Thursday with African mediators seeking to end a conflict between rival factions.

No doubt, the appalling situation in South Sudan over the past five days, needs urgent action to save millions of lives.

“The African Union is till now meeting with the president,” presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told Reuters by telephone yesterday. “Their message is that they are trying to broker peace between the two forces.”

Reports reveal that the unrest, which began in the capital Juba, has killed some 500 people and sparked fears of widespread conflict.

As we always say in these pages, Africans often tend to wait until the Eleventh Hour or even after an event before they started to respond.

The move to mediate in this latest conflict on our continent is undoubtedly a welcome move by the African Union.

If we allow the conflict to continue, it is feared that the blood of many women, children and the most vulnerable of the society will be spilled in that country.

Like many other African countries, South Sudan is not immune to the devastating effects of such unfortunate happenings.

Many African countries, for instance, are still suffering from conflicts, whether manifest or simmering. So, if the heads of state of the African Union countries have failed to pay more attention to the situation in some of these countries, it is only natural that things like this one would sooner or later lead to a catastrophe.

And who suffers? It is mostly the women and children.

It is for these reasons, and a host of others, that African leaders should act swiftly to mediate between the two sides in South Sudan so as to bring an end to this escalating conflict.

Our leaders should take urgent measures to save the lives of South Sudanese, especially women and children. They must act now, by taking the lead to rescue the people in South Sudan, and other countries in the continent.

Rather than waiting, the search for a solution to the current situation facing South Sudanese must begin now in earnest.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”
Dr. Seuss