Home | News    Wednesday 21 May 2014

S. Sudanese rebels say former detainees “undecided”


May 20, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The South Sudanese faction of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which has formed an “armed resistance” against president Salva Kiir’s government, said the 12 former colleagues freed from detention in Juba including the former secretary general of the party, Pagan Amum, have not decided which side to join in resolving the new nation’s five-month old conflict.

South Sudan’s rebel leader, Riek Machar, addresses a press conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 12 May 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

“The former detainees have not yet made up their minds about which side to join. In recent consultations with our leadership in Addis Ababa, they felt they needed more time to think over it whether to remain neutral or join us or the other side,” Machar’s spokesperson James Gatdet Dak told Sudan Tribune when contacted on Tuesday.

Under the leadership of the former vice-president and the then deputy chairman of the ruling SPLM, Riek Machar, the now SPLM (in opposition) have been battling Kiir’s government since mid-December 2013.

The group include Pagan Amum, former SPLM secretary general, Mama Robecca Nyandeng, presidential advisor and widow of late leader John Garang, Deng Alor, former cabinet affairs minister, John Luk, former justice minister, Kosti Manibe, former finance minister, Oyai Deng, former security minister, Gier Chuang, former minister for roads, Madut Biar, former minister of telecommunications, Majak Agot, former deputy defense minister, Cirino Hiteng, former youth minister, Chol Tong, former Lakes state governor and Ezekiel Lol, former diplomat to US.

Prior to the 15 December violence which erupted in South Sudan last year, the politicians who are senior members in the SPLM, were allied to the former party deputy chairman, Riek Machar, in which they on 6 December 2013 held a press conference in Juba, calling for political reforms in the party and accusing the party chairman, Salva Kiir of “dictatorial tendencies.”

Following the violence, they were all arrested, except Robecca Nyandeng. Seven of them were released two months later, but Pagan Amum, Oyai Deng, Majak Agot and Ezekiel Lol remained in detention, accused of alleged coup attempt. They were, however, released five months later for lack of evidences to support the alleged coup.

The first seven released former detainees however played an insignificant, sometimes denied, neutral position in the peace talks, calling themselves a “third bloc” which did not want to join either side in the conflict, despite being named by Machar as members of his delegation and demanded for their release throughout the peace talks.

Dak, however, said the ex-detainees had the right to decide how to behave in this crisis in the history of the country despite being one group with Machar prior to the “imposed violence.”

“Our leadership acknowledges the right of the former detainees to choose what to do after their freedom. We were one group before the violence during which we together tried peaceful reforms,” he further stressed.

“They also agree that the violence was imposed on us and the people of South Sudan by Salva Kiir. They may disagree with us on how to deter that violent dictatorship,” Dak added, while referring to the armed movement which Machar has formed.

Machar’s spokesperson said the rebels were committed to the peace process to end the crisis, but would continue “to resist the dictatorial regime in Juba using the armed resistance as an alternative tool to deter and put pressure on Salva Kiir to talk peace and negotiate himself out of power.”

“We are convinced that the leadership in Juba is an avowed violent form of dictatorship. They are against peaceful political reforms in the country. They have proved it to the whole world in December last year. It is therefore strange if others do not see the necessity of forming an armed resistance in order to deter them,” Dak added.

However, despite lack of declaration to join with the armed opposition group as an organic organization, Pagan Amum on Sunday held a follow-up consultative meeting with Machar in Addis Ababa in which the former detainees pledged to cooperate and collaborate with the rebels against the government.

Analysts see the position adopted by the former detainees as an attempt to make themselves look like “good guys” in the eyes of the international community so that they may snatch the proposed interim government’s leadership if both president Salva Kiir and opposition leader, Riek Machar, were to be forced to step aside.

Nonetheless, the recent shift in the roadmap agreement which necessitated Kiir and Machar to spearhead and negotiate the terms of the transitional governance and its leadership provided slim chance for the former detainees to lead the transition.

The five-month old violent conflict, which has killed tens of thousands and displaced over a million people, erupted when president Salva Kiir allegedly his presidential guards unit commander to disarm the Nuer soldiers within the guards.

A shaky peace talks to resolve the conflict has been ongoing in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

The rebel group is expected to submit its positions to the mediation team on issues of federal system of governance, legislature, judicial and legal reform, security sector reform, economy, constitution, public services reform, national reconciliation and healing as well as census and elections, among others.

The rebels have demanded the restructure of the state on the basis of a new peace agreement and a federal constitution. Government on the other hand has been resisting the call to restructure the state on the basis of federalism.

On 9 May, president Kiir and opposition leader Machar signed a road map agreement in the Ethiopian capital, which shall guide further negotiations between their delegations.


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  • 20 May 2014 23:19, by Ito

    Thank you comrade Pagan amum and the group for choosing to join visionary leader Dr. Riek machar Teny. It is only through him that peace and development can be achieve in this already failed state. There is nothing that can change Dinka to think positively and I advice all not to waste their time but to join armed resistance against this stupid tribe. Struggle continues.

    • 20 May 2014 23:22, by Ito

      Ya Jammaa, it is very important and imperative for us now to come to conclusion that we cannot live side by side with the Dinkas, if this notion is not taken seriously both theoretically and practically, then am afraid we will never move anywhere

      • 21 May 2014 11:09, by Mapuor

        You must be a lunatic.How can you avoid staying with your liberators dear Ito.Denying realities is abnormal.You were all Jallaba slaves and your brothers suffered in the bush to liberate you, and on top you are now eating Dinka oil.Just go back to school and learn geography,you will discover that oil comes from your liberators homes.You should glorify Dinka yaa kalib.

    • 21 May 2014 13:26, by Lango2010

      you are talking out of experience, because you were born just today and doesn’t know what had happen yesterday and what will happen tomorrow. this animal so called riek machar is smart fool and idiot to be followed, and if you want to prove me right or wrong consult Dr Riak Gai. and others whom machar took to khartoum and left them there during is rebellion from SPLA in 1991 to 2002.

      • 21 May 2014 19:01, by Ito

        Lango and Afredo and the rest who are not Dinka, I am very disappointed by your reasoning. It is a shame to equatorians. I have been in this war for years since 1984 and my family as well. I know what happen in 1991, if you were there to observed what the Dinkas were doing to other tribes, raping women, killing officers and civilians, insulting while we are supporting them, you will not talk like

        • 21 May 2014 19:04, by Ito

          this. Upto now we are being told if you want to be equal to Dinka you have to pour the blood that they have poured otherwise you have to leave them kill, rape, marry our women by force, take land like in Nimule, Juba, Yei, Yambio by force. This had been told to our face. That is why our elders are saying our generation are women, they wish they could become young and sacrifice for this insult.

          • 21 May 2014 19:08, by Ito

            Dr. Riek is forgiven for what. It was a war between factions. Why Dinka Koryiom and 1986 first incursion into equatoria Nile and Bee battalion kill, rape and so on was forgiven and for Riek’s reaction to this stupidness is not. We have to thank Riek for facing Dinka. many people were crying to see who is going to face Dinka as lots are afraid. Now someone is trying to liberate you and you want

            • 21 May 2014 19:10, by Ito

              him to fail. Liberation of Nuer will mean liberation of equatoria and all other tribes. If Dr. Riek fail, we will be slaves of Dinka forever. That is why Dinka always say, their problem is Nuer. They want to reduce the number of nuer because they say other tribes are easy to rule, they are women. Mark my words brothers. If a Dinka support the government it is okay with me because we know why.

    • 21 May 2014 18:06, by machar

      Ito are you a monkey without tail we know that you came from eastern Equatoria where most of you do not know what they doing.Riek is not our leader is the leader of devile

    • 21 May 2014 18:17, by machar

      ITO.please do not support this devil if you are really the south sudan citizen.

  • 20 May 2014 23:30, by Kim Deng

    Neither condemnation nor blaming will change the course the rising-empire took. Which means, the rising-Kingdom (Dinka Kingdom) must not be deterred by words; rather, it must be engaged with strategies follow by actions.

  • 21 May 2014 04:46, by Akol Liai Mager

    Deng Alor Kuol made it clear from day 1 that he and his group lead by Ustaz Pagan Amum will never join armed rebellion and this position has been reaffirmed the group leader following his release. Riek can only use himself now to claim power through whatever means he believes in being violence or so. Ustaz Amum will never be a ladder for the violence leaders to climb onto presidential seat.

  • 21 May 2014 06:02, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    Government is don’t care about 12 former war prisoners of taking any side. Thought Riek Machar rebellions is getting supply from #Sudan, #China and #Iran. Government will win over Riek Machar threatening Kiir government.

  • 21 May 2014 11:11, by Alfredo christiani

    Dear Mi-Diit & Ito
    FYI, even if Kiir step down as your fools demanded it, still the hatred between DINKA & NUER will not end, these discrepancies between DINKA & nuer were there already since you were accommodated in South Sudan by DINKA in unity, Upper Nile & Jonglei states your dreams of coming in to the power by forces is impossible or otherwise war will not stop until the end of earths, fool

  • 21 May 2014 11:15, by Alfredo christiani

    s like Nuer cannot rule this nation
    For Ito all equatorian are well-known to the world that are peace makers and followers, your son Joseph Lago failed in the first movement to accepted unwanted peace because he was given an ARAB lady called (KADIJA)
    Secondly all equatorians had five (5) nationalities 1- Congolese2- Ugandans’3- Kenyans’ – 4 CAR and southern Sudanese, one example (ACHOLI) Ug

    • 22 May 2014 11:59, by Bravo Nuer

      Alfredo a dying cow doesn’t always hide its private part and be informed that the Holy Spirit knows who is down not Riak because Machar has been eversince Down not Up and you might be meaning the opposite of Machar from Up then to be down now and all will agree with you.Nuer are not fools as you dubbed but Nuer generosity, humility, bravery and egalitarianism is always perceived by fools as folly.

  • 21 May 2014 11:18, by Alfredo christiani

    Ugandan (ACHOLI) Sudan shame on you.
    For Nuer, they have four (4) Nationalities 1- Ethiopians’ 2- Sudanese, 3- Eritreans and south Sudanese and they claimed to lead the nation, shame on you
    For DINKAS they are pure south Sudanese peoples who inhabited in the most populated areas in south Sudan , DINKA will not accept foreigners to ,lead this country unless DInKA finished all over the South, Ma

  • 21 May 2014 11:25, by Mapuor

    Those thugs are opportunists.We always tell you that people Majak Agot should have honored president Kiir who brought him to prominence.Majak was Kiir personnel guard and was promoted rapidly leaving his peers at very low military ranks.Hahahah a General at 20s of age hahahahahah.Kusumkum.

  • 21 May 2014 11:28, by Alfredo christiani

    Mark my word
    SPLA proper Oyeeeeeeeeeeeee down down Riak Machar rebellions, Fucks you all

    • 22 May 2014 11:56, by Bravo Nuer

      Alfredo a dying cow doesn’t always hide its private part and be informed that the Holy Spirit knows who is down not Riak because Machar has been eversince Down not Up and you might be meaning the opposite of Machar from Up then to be down now and all will agree with you.Nuer are not fools as you dubbed but Nuer generosity, humility, bravery and egalitarianism is always perceived by fools as folly.

  • 21 May 2014 22:50, by Nyesi Ta

    The so call the former detainees should be considered irrelevant. Forget about , and move on.

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