South Sudan is threatened with famine – a race against time! Without peace, there is no end to hunger in sight!

870,000 people from South Sudan are on the run – 3.7 million people need humanitarian aid

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns about a famine in South Sudan. "It's a race against time for the aid workers who are trying to provide sufficient supplies for the 3.7 million needy people in South Sudan before the beginning of the rainy season in April," said the STP's Africa-consultant, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Monday. Also, the crop failures will be a serious problem next year. Many farmers were not able to sow anything because of the violent struggle for power that has been going on since mid-December of 2013. "The aid missions are dependent on a better safety situation." There are still countless violations of the ceasefire agreement, so most of the 870,000 people who fled from their homes in South Sudan since mid-December 2013 could not return yet.

The ceasefire-agreement between the government of South Sudan and the rebel groups under Riek Machar – which was signed on January 23, 2014 – must be enforced so that the aid workers are able to reach the needy. "It is especially important that all conflict parties stick to the ceasefire agreement," said Delius. "The international community must ensure that Uganda withdraws the troops that had been deployed to assist the South Sudanese government in the struggle for power." Article 1 of the ceasefire agreement provides that the signatory parties will ‘progressively’ withdraw any ally troops. However, the media in Uganda reported that Uganda is planning to keep its troops in South Sudan until after the elections scheduled for 2015 in order to strengthen the South Sudanese government. This would be a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement – and a possible trigger for a new outbreak of violence.

It would also be in China's interest if Uganda were to keep up its military support for the troubled South Sudanese government because of the Chinese investments in South Sudan's oil industry. "However, the involvement of the troops from Uganda is poison for a democratic change and the rule of law in South Sudan," said Delius. "After all, why should there be elections in South Sudan if Uganda is trying to keep the South-Sudanese President Salva Kiir in power at all possible costs?"

A continued involvement of the Ugandan troops could also lead to interventions by other neighboring countries of South Sudan – and thus to a destabilization of the whole region of East Africa.