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Sudan Tribune

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S. Sudanese rebels dismiss claims of joining national dialogue

May 28, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan rebels allied to the country’s former First Vice-President have dismissed as untrue claims that members of their forces have joined the Juba government in response to the national dialogue declared by President Salva Kiir.

David Otim (R), principal representative for the SPLM/A in Opposition in Uganda, and Oyet Nathaniel Pierino speak at a press conference in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on 22 September 2014 (ST)
David Otim (R), principal representative for the SPLM/A in Opposition in Uganda, and Oyet Nathaniel Pierino speak at a press conference in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on 22 September 2014 (ST)
Officials in Imatong, one of South Sudan’s newly created states said the armed opposition under the overall command of General Patrick Ohiti accepted in principle to join the national dialogue.

The move, officials say, came after months of intense negotiations.

But the rebel-appointed governor of Imatong state, Nathaniel Pierino denied the claim, referring to it as a “fabrication” from government.

“It’s understandable that the newly appointed SPLM-IG [ruling party in government] governor of a decentralizes pseudo state of Imatong Hon. Tobiolo Alberto Oromo is seeking the attention of the president by appearing a good boy by spreading unfounded rumors and propaganda,” he told Sudan Tribune over phone on Sunday.

He said they would never join the “fake” and “one-sided” dialogue.

“This is utterly untrue statement and I would like to categorically state that SPLA-IO has been provoked and we are considering the best possible response to prove to the regime and South Sudan that we are not what they say and will never be part of the so-called dialogue,” said Pierino.

He said claims made by the pro-government officials were meant to penetrate their system by using the media as a propaganda tool.

“I am directing all the military organs of the SPLA-IO in Imatong state to convene an emergency security and command meetings to discuss this provocative and destabilizing propaganda of the regime and take appropriate action to punish the regime,” said Pierino.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir officially launched the long-awaited national dialogue initiative in the capital, Juba on Monday.

Initiated by the South Sudanese leader in December last year, the national dialogue initiative is both a forum and process through which the people South Sudan shall gather to redefine the basis of their unity as it relates to nationhood, redefine citizenship and belonging, as well as restructure the state for national inclusion.

Since mid-December 2013, tens of thousands of people have been killed and over two million displaced from the East African nation.

(ST)