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Sudan Tribune

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South Sudan’s SSPM says Costello is its legitimate leader, denies his sack

Costello Garang Ring Lual , SSPM leader (ST photo)
Costello Garang Ring Lual , SSPM leader (ST photo)

February 26, 2019 (JUBA) – The South Sudan Patriotic Movement (SSPM) seemingly is once again engulfed in a power struggle as it denied reports about the dismissal of its leader Costello Garang Ring Lual and his replacement by Abdel Bagi Ayii Akol, a Dinka tribal leader from Northern Bahr el-Ghazal.

On 24 February, two former SSPM prominent members Malong Majok Yor and Malong Thiik Riiny joined the ruling SPLM after stating they had broken away from the of Costello’ group but the latter denied the claim saying had quit the group a long time ago.

However, on 26 reports in Juba said Costello had been sacked from his position and appointed Abdel Bagi as a new leader with Malong Majok Yor as secretary general. Also, it was reported that the new leader would ask the IGAD to add his signature to the revitalized peace agreement.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the SSPM denounced the allegations and reiterated its support to its leader who is Germany pointing that the army which is led by Abdel Bagi’s son Agany has no say in the appointment of the political leader.

“Abdelbagi Akol Agany is not a member of South Sudan Patriotic Movement/Army (SSPM/A). He is an imminent elder detached from political activities of SSPM/A,” said the statement before add that Yor was dismissed on 25th October 2018, because of subversive activities.

York’s return to the SSPM as a “Secretary-General is a mockery and laughable. His illegal return is a desperate attempt to cling on SSPM”.

Regarding the SSPA Chief of General Staff Gen. Agany Abdelbagi Akol, the statement said he remains in his position “until the leadership decides otherwise”.

A month before the signing of the revitalized peace agreement on 13 August 2018, Agany sought to sack the SSPM chairman Costello from his position accusing him of obstructing peace negotiations.

“SSPM led by Dr Costello Garang Ring Lual, signed the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement and there is no provision to open up R-RCISS for renegotiations to make Abdelbagi Akol Agany a signatory to the agreement,” said the SSPM statement.

The SSPM is a member of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, a signatory of the revitalized peace agreement.