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Sudan Tribune

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South Sudan rebels: united to fight for regime change

January 13, 2012 (JUBA)- The South Sudan Democratic Movement (SSDM), one of the rebel groups from Jonglei state, fighting against Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) led government on Friday said its leadership council remains united to fight for regime change.

A senior member of the group also denied reports that they were divided, and denied claims by the Jonglei state governor that they were seeking reintegration into South Sudan’s Army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

“As far as I am concerned, we are not divided. The fact that we have unanimously appointed our new leader within a short period of time is, by itself, an indication of the existence of unity within our movement. The movement remains united.” Abiel Riing Majak, a senior member of the rebel group said in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

Majak, a member of the executive leadership council, explained that their movement wants to reach out to all the other South Sudanese political and armed organisations.

He said the SSDM remains committed to a peaceful settlement of the two year post-election conflict but warned that peace was only achievable if the ruling party shows interest in resolving it. The rebellion began when their former leader, George Athor, lost the Jonglei state gubernatorial election.

“We are committed to negotiating peaceful settlement. This was why our late chairman, General George Athor responded to a call by the Ugandan president Yoweri Musevi. We did not that there was a plan by the Ugandan government to kill him. Otherwise we would not have allowed him to go. We accepted because that was on a peace mission”, Majak” explained.

The SSDM has previously claimed that Athor was killed in Uganda,

In December, the country’s vice president Riek Machar announced at a press conference that the rebel leader was killed hours after armed elements in his company fell into an ambush by the border patrol unit of the country’s army and that he was instantly killed after the military engagement took place on 19 December 2011.

Athor’s denied the claim, saying that their leader was in a hotel inside Uganda and his body was brought to South Sudan’s Morobo county, Central Equatoria state, where the country’s army claimed responsibility.

Majak said the SSDM will not negotiate a peace deal without an independent third party. In refernce to recent conflict in Jonglei state between the Luo-Nuer and Murle ethnic groups, Majak described the area as a “slaughterhouse”.

“The recent event in Pibor speaks a lot about the ability of this government to protect innocent civilians from killing themselves. It’s for this reason that the state is sowing hatred in this country. If they do not listen, we continue support the call for regime change which is the choice of the majority”, he explained 

Majak said that the SSDM “are determined to fight for regime change.”