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Sudan Tribune

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South Sudan rebel commander rejects separate peace consultations

October 4, 2017 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese rebel commander has rejected separate arrangements aimed at making him and troops participate in the regional revitalization forum.

Rebel commander Johnson Olony speaks to the press upon arrival at Juba international airport on 13 June 2013 (ST)
Rebel commander Johnson Olony speaks to the press upon arrival at Juba international airport on 13 June 2013 (ST)
Johnson Olony, the rebel-appointed governor of Fashoda state, claimed such a move was a government strategy to perfect divide and rule policy.

“We heard of the release of the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) timetable. I understand that timetable seeks to make me participate in that forum separately from the SPLM-IO [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In-Opposition] leadership and structure, which is a policy of the divide and rule. I know it was a design of the government which the IGAD is trying to implement but it will not work because we are part of the SPLM-IO under Dr Riek Machar, and if there is a need, he will be one to participate in that forum on behalf of the movement,” Olony told Sudan Tribune.

He added, “This is our message and this is the message we are sending out through this interview”.

The top rebel commander was reacting to a revitalization timetable released by the regional bloc. The consultations, in which Olony was separately selected as one of the leaders to be consulted, are expected to commence from 13 to 17 October.

Actual consultations, as per the schedule provided, would begin with those participating in South Sudan’s coalition government before it is then extended to other aggrieved parties and leaders.

According to the timetable, IGAD unveiled on Monday, President Salva Kiir, his first deputy in unity government Taban Deng Gai are the first to be consulted followed by the rebel leader Machar, Lam Akol, Pagan Amum Gen. Thomas Cirillo and former Western Equatoria governor Joseph Bakosoro. Others are Gen. Peter Gadet, Gen. Bapiny Monytuil and Gen. Olony.

The revitalization forum timetable, however, made no mention of the leader of the Federal Democratic Party, Gabriel Changson Chang.

In June, a summit of IGAD heads of state and government decided to convene a meeting of the signatories of the South Sudan peace agreement to discuss ways to revitalize the peace implementation. It was, however, agreed upon during the June summit that all groups be included in a discussion aimed at restoring a permanent ceasefire.

South Sudan government warned that the revitalization forum by the regional bloc, which mediated the 2015 peace accord, should not be another platform for negotiation of the peace deal between the two factions to the conflict.

Over a million people have fled South Sudan since conflict erupted in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir sacked Machar from the vice-presidency. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced in South Sudan’s worst ever violence since it seceded from Sudan in 2011.

(ST)