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South Sudan Should Learn from Somalia

A fierce fighting has erupted in South Sudan. It has been in the news for a while now: but there is one thing the war has already achieved: both sides in the conflict are fighting a losing battle. No one will win it. People are getting displaced and this will create refugee crisis. It will send refugee oxidus to neighboring countries. And it will be very difficulty to help countless numbers of war runaways fleeing from the bloodshed.

War and famine are like twins and it is for sure that the violent mayhem in South Sudan will cause severe famine if not prevented before it is too late. And this will be widespread with a lot of famine victims who will be needing relief during the man made hunger.

According to news reports, what started as a squabble, between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar, gave birth to a civil war in South Sudan with ethnic overtones. The two men belong to the largest tribes in South Sudan: Kiir hails from Dinka and Machar is Neur. If you talk to the two men, each of them tells you a different story as to the spark of the war: president Kiir claims after he had sacked him, Mr. Machar tried a failed coup: on the other hand, Machar claims the president engaged in a political endeavor to marginalize him and the rest of the opposition.

As the two sides sent delegations to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, for peace talks, so far there is no breakthrough as of today, Sunday. The Eastern African Countries know as IGAD and Western powers including the United States are trying to get the two parties to agree to a ceasefire as the fighting continues. The two parties need to learn from Somalia and stop the fighting immediately.

If the South Sudanese government and the rebels don’t stop hostilities now, then peace might become like searching pin in a haystack.

The neighboring countries should avoid from siding with one of the warring parties, at least in the short term. I believe Uganda’s recent utterances against the rebels were unfortunate: Uganda’s president Museveni said Uganda will take some sort of action against the rebels if the rebels do not agree to a ceasefire, and he said that late December 2013 before the warring parties even sent their delegations to Addis Ababa for peace talks.

However, if the peace talks fails and it becomes so clear for the failure to be blamed on one of the warring parties in South Sudan, then the world taking action against the failure-creating side might be necessary.

The South Sudanese Government and the rebels should really learn a great lesson from Somalia from which I originally hails. As a Somali, I know the pains and the sorrows of a civil war. I know how war sends people to their graves no matter their guilt or innocence. I know war maims people without asking them which limb they prefer. I know war displaces people without giving them a say as to whether they want or not. I know war breaks hearts but never amends what it already destroyed. Please stop the war.

Ahmed Said is a Somali American Writer based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, United States.

ENDS

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