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S. Sudan president in talks with defected SPLM-IO commanders


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President Salva Kiir attends a session during the 25th Extraordinary Summit of the (IGAD) on South Sudan in Addis Ababa March 13, 2014 (Reuters Photo)

August 9, 2021 (JUBA)- South Sudan President Salva Kiir is in talks with the armed opposition (SPLM-IO) commanders, amidst widespread fears that an internal division and split within the movement’s military leadership could unravel and undermine the ongoing peace process.

Multiple sources directly linked to the SPLM-IO commanders disclosed that Kiir has assembled a team to negotiate with the defected armed opposition military leaders.

“His excellency the president of the republic has assembled a strong team to talk with General Simon Gatwech Dual, General Johnson Olony and General Mabor Dhoal”, a presidential aide told Sudan Tribune on Monday

He added, “Vice president Taban Deng Gai is also coordinating with the president and others to ensure that the situation is contained. So, talks are continuing. The Sudanese government is also involved, and this is the reason why the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) convened an emergency meeting to discuss the implications of the current political situation on the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) today [Monday]".

The official also lauded the mediation efforts by the Sudanese Foreign Affairs minister and chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers Mariam Al-Sadig Al-Mahdi for convening an emergency meeting on Monday.

The emergency meeting, IGAD said in a communique, seeks to discuss the current political situation in South Sudan that requires the urgent attention of the Council.

“The IGAD Secretariat, therefore, requests your esteemed ministry to confirm the participation of the honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs as head of the delegation and in accordance with 8(1) of the Rules of Procedure governing IGAD meetings, a maximum of such other accredited representatives, alternate representative’s ad advisors," partly read the communique issued on Monday.

Last week, the SPLM/A-IO military command under the Chief of General Staff First Lieutenant General Simon Gatwech Dual denounced the leadership of South Sudan’s First Vice President Riek Machar, appointing the former as the new interim chairman of the armed opposition group.

The decision to oust Machar reportedly emerged after its members held a meeting at Magenis area in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.

But Machar’s office, in a statement issued on Thursday last week, said the three generals who met at Mangena do not constitute the military command leadership of the SPLA-IO.

The SPLM-IO also reiterated its commitment to the full implementation of the September 2018 peace agreement in letter and spirit, urging the other parties to the accord to do the same.

In September 2018, the warring factions in South Sudan’s civil war signed a revitalized peace agreement to end the country’s civil war. The peace accord stipulates that there shall be a transitional government formed after eight months of the pre-transitional period.


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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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