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Former Malong spokesman splits, says ready to take part in Rome talks

September 26, 2020 (JUBA) - The former spokesman of the South Sudan United Front (SSUF) Emmanuel Sunday de John broke away from the opposition group of Paul Malong and voiced his readiness to participate in Rome peace process.

Sunday de John

Earlier this week, the SSUF leader Malong sacked Sunday de John from his position as Secretary of Information and Communications Technology without explaining the reason for this move.

However in a long pleading after his suspension as the SSUF spokesperson, Sunday de John said the decision was taken under the influence of "cliques hanging around" Malong and pledged to respond to this humiliation.

On Saturday, he issued a statement saying that "Gen. Paul Malong Awan’s role as Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the South Sudan United Front Army is terminated effective immediately".

He further criticized Malong’s ability to manage the group saying that his rebellion was only informed by "personal sentiments", alluding to his past strong relationship with President Salva Kiir.

The rift intervenes a week before the resumption of the peace talks in Rome on 5 October. Sunday de John represented the SSUF in the negotiations between the government and SSOMA brokered by Sant’Egidio religious community.

In his statement, the splinter official reiterated their commitment to the South Sudan Opposition Movements’ Alliance (SSOMA) and vowed to take part in the peace process.

"The National Executive Committee has resolved that SSUF/A will always be part and parcel of SSOMA in conformity with all its basic documents, objectives, policies, strategies and diversity," said Sunday de John.

"The South Sudan United Front Army commits to Rome Peace process as part of SSOMA without any tendency to break away from SSOMA in the spirit of self-seeking as was the case with its former leader and is destined to achieve sustainable face through addressing the root causes of the conflict," he stressed.

On Friday, SOMMA decided to suspend Malong’s group in the alliance without details. However, sources close to the alliance alleged they believe that the former chief of the South Sudanese army has been in touch with President Kiir personally.

For his part, General Malong issued a statement sacking Sunday de John from the SSUF and accused him of "passing sensitive files and information to Juba agents".

The newly appointed SSUF Spokesperson Nyamach Nyang Choul, for her part, issued a statement requesting the former spokesman to hand over stamps, computer, archives and all office material that are still in his possession.

"Failure to hand over the requested items within 72 hours of this letter will result in legal action against him," Choul stressed.

Also, Thomas Peter Okach the head of SSUF in Sudan voiced their support to Malong and accused Sunday de John of disseminating "false, fabricated and tendentious information in cooperation with the front’s enemies inside the country and abroad".

"We warn those who stand behind de Sandy to stay away from this crisis fabricated by well-indentified circles," Okach added.