New militias emerge in South Sudan conflict

New militia groups, some “opportunists”, others “downright criminal”, have emerged in South Sudan since renewed violence erupted there last July, the head of an international ceasefire monitoring team said on Friday.
Talking to the press in Nairobi, Festus Mogae, a former president of Botswana who leads the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), said these new rebel groups “did not exist before.”
He also expressed fears of renewed ethnic violence.
Mogae said the new militias formed after violent clashes broke out in the region of the capital Juba, forcing more than 10 000 people to seek refuge at a UN base at the time.
“Some are opportunists, others are downright criminals, because of the shortage of food,” Mogae said. “There are allegations that some groups are targeting Dinkas.”
War broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, pitting the country’s majority Dinka tribe of President Salva Kiir against his former vice-president Riek Machar and his Nuer tribe supporters.
Observers said it later metastasised with other tribes joining one side or the other, often with the hope of getting an upper hand in local conflicts over land and other issues.
A peace agreement signed two and a half years later raised hopes of an end to the conflict, but the deal’s implementation lasted just over two months.

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