The East African bloc’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has deployed envoys to South Sudan to monitor a shaky ceasefire implemented between the government and the rebels.
The IGAD said on Sunday that the monitors , over the next five days, are to meet with government officials as well as local and international non-governmental organizations in the capital Juba and three other flashpoint towns- Bor, Bentui and Malakal- where have been the scene of heavy clashes in recent months.
The 14-member team, including military and civilian experts and led by retired Ethiopian major general Gebreegzabher Mebrahtu, is tasked with the assessment of the implementation of the ceasefire in the war-stricken country.
The United Nations peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous was also expected to enter Juba on Sunday to discuss the needed measures for bringing the planned ceasefire, agreed on January 23, into action.
South Sudan has been grappling with deadly fighting since December 15, 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy, Reik Machar, of attempting to stage a coup. The conflict soon turned into an all-out war between the army and defectors.
Machar put the release of his 11 supporters as a precondition for the ceasefire with the government.
According to the reports, the South Sudanese government has freed seven of the detainees.
This is while IGAD is mounting pressure on the government to release the remaining detainees in order for political talks slated for February 7 to proceed.
Earlier this week, the United Nations said nearly four million people in South Sudan are in dire need of food aid, describing the humanitarian situation in the country as “alarming.”