U.S. legislators write to AU chief over South Sudan conflict

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March 5, 2017 (JUBA)- The US legislators comprising congressmen and senators have written to the new chairperson of the African union, Mousa Faki Mahamat asking him to take extraordinary steps to avert a looming genocide in South Sudan.

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South Sudanese children play in Al-Alagaya camp in White Nile State, Sudan (Photo UNHCR)

The lawmakers argued the international community to work together to find a political solution to prevent genocide and mass atrocities from being committed in the young nation.

“We bear collective responsibility to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. The international community must work together to find a political solution. We ask that you take the extraordinary step of convening a high level meeting of regional leaders and stakeholders with the goal of averting genocide and mass atrocities in the near term and agreeing to a diplomatic roadmap leading to a lasting peace”, the joint letter dated February 24, 2017 sent by Sudan Tribune reads in part.

It further stated that lawmakers do not ignore a challenge in finding a solution, but that failure to find a solution results in the people of South Sudan paying for it.

“We are no under illusion that a solution will be easy to find. However, a everyday that we fail to do so, the people of South Sudan will suffer. Half of South Sudan’s population is in need of humanitarian aid and the number is likely to grow. People continue to be raped and murdered in their own homes. The international community must act as quickly as possible. The cost if we fail to do so is much too high. We stand ready to assist your efforts”, the lawmakers add in the letter.

They also expressed concern about reports of horrific violence against civilians and potential genocide occurring in the country if urgent political intervention is not made.

The letter highlights the plight of nearly three million people displaced as well as an estimated 50,000 killed in the violence, which broke out in South Sudan in December 2013. Of particular concern, they said, was the renewed violence in Upper Nile state capital, Malakal and the Equatoria regions, which were relatively peaceful areas.

“We write with concern about one such challenge: ongoing reports of horrific violence against civilians and potential genocide in South Sudan, and the need to arrive at a sustainable political settlement to end the civil war in that country”, further reads the petition.

“The international community must work together to find a working solution,” it added.

The congressmen and senators who signed the 24 February petition include, Benjamin Cardin, John Boozman, Edward Markey, Johny Isakson, Karen Bass, Michael Capuano, Jeffery Merkley, James Inhofe, Richard Durbin, Christopher Coons, Cory Booker and Barbara Lee.

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