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Defence minister says Sudanese rebels left South Sudan

December 14, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudanese defence minister Wednesday said Sudanese rebels have complied with the directives to leave the country, stressing that his country wants no foreign rebels.

South Sudan’s defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, pictured following a cabinet meeting in Juba on 17 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

Recently there were unconfirmed reports saying that several commander belonging to Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and other groups from Darfur region are held by the security services because they refused to leave South Sudan.

Khartoum and Juba recently reiterated commitment to implement the security agreement signed several years ago and to disarm or expel rebel groups in both sides. Also Presidents Omer al-Bashir and Salva Kiir agreed to talk directly to each other to resolve any problem obstructing the joint teams.

“We need peace in this country. We don’t need war and so there is no reason to allow our territory to be used by groups whose presence would be used against us and to contribute to causing instability. Because of this, we have talked to the Sudanese rebels and they have left," Juuk told Sudan Tribune.

"The JEM (Justice and Equality Movement) who were in Raja and some elements in Bentiu have gone already. They have accepted to return to Sudan to take part in peace process,” he further said.

Minister Juuk, also, commended the neighbouring countries, specifically Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya for not allowing armed opposition group under the leadership of the former First Vice President, Riek Machar to not return to the country.

“What these countries have done demonstrates their commitment to helping the government and the people of South Sudan implement the peace which they mediated. As the government we are therefore appreciative of the role they have played and should continue to play so that peace and stability comes to the country so that people can resume their normal lives”, he said.

IGAD leaders requested South Africa to host Machar and to ensure that he would not return to the region in a bid to prevent the resumption of a new war in South Sudan.

(ST)