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SPLM-IO rejects proposed foreign troops in S. Sudan

July 20, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s armed opposition (SPLM-IO) faction leaders in Juba have rejected the African Union’s proposal for an intervention force to neutralize rival forces in South Sudan and keep hopes for implementing a shaky peace accord alive.

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Head of the rebel delegation, Taban Deng Gai, attends the opening ceremony of South Sudan’s negotiation in Addis Ababa, January 4, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

“We are against this issue of third party to intervene in our affairs. The president is in control and there is no need for intervention. We have seen the repercussion of these interventions in other countries,” said the mining minister in the coalition government, Taban Deng Gai.

Taban spoke to journalists after meeting President Salva Kiir, barely two weeks after the country’s main rival forces clashed in the capital, Juba leaving hundreds dead and displacing over 40,000.

The SPLM-IO chairperson, Riek Machar was forced out of Juba after his house was bombed, and now supports the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) proposal to allow troops from neighboring nations take up Juba’s security and strengthen the capacity of United Nations peacekeepers in the country as attack forces.

The UN, which supports the IGAD and AU proposal, also wants an arm embargo imposed on South Sudan as well as targeted sanctions on individuals seen as obstructing implementation of the peace deal.

President Kiir rejects the decision to deploy foreign troops, a position adopted by SPLM-IO leaders in government controlled areas.

“We should provide our security by ourselves because there are some countries in the region, where foreign troops are deployed [and] have remained in chaos such as Somalia, Libyia,” Taban said.

He said the SPLM-IO leaders in Juba and field commanders have reached “consensus among us that is we have to continue with the implementation of peace.”

“All people of South Sudan, SPLM-IO and SPLM-In Government must stand behind the president; one community, one nation and one president," said Taban, whose allegiance to Machar has been questioned by SPLM-IO allies since the 8 July clashes occurred.

During the clashes, for instance, the former head of the rebel negotiating team called for a ceasefire even when fighting was raging at Machar’s base in Juba on July 10 and July 11.