After decades of civil war that has taken the lives of more than two million people, the South Sudan leadership and the opposing militia groups are mending fences and healing old wounds in order to ensure a peaceful and smooth transition for its independence – a landmark referendum in the region’s bloody history.
In a three-day All South Sudan Political Party Conference, President Salva Kiir has been in talks with rebel fighters and other dissident groups in Southern Sudan, offering them an amnesty program and asking them “stand together for the region’s independence.”
Kiir has also sought reconciliation with former foreign minister Lam Akol, who is considered as his leading political adversary, in order to ease out tensions prior to the vote for the South’s long awaited independence from North Sudan.
The vote for South Sudan’s independence was the centerpiece during the peace treaty between former rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement which is led by Kiir and the Arab-dominated Khartoum government.
Despite having an autonomous government, which was established as part of the peace agreement, the Southern Sudan leadership was continuously being challenged by militia groups supporting the north.
But with reconciliation between Kiir and Akol, the people of Southern Sudan are hopeful that they can now live independently and end decades of civil war.