South Sudan rebels form alliance to oust President Kiir

By REUTERS, The EastAfrican, May/13/2017, SSN;

IN SUMMARY:

***Seven South Sudan’s opposition groups agree to work together against government.
***The opposition leaders say they would hold a conference “with a view to seeking a united front on common strategic and operational issues”.
***Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said the government would not negotiate with any new opposition members.

Seven South Sudanese opposition groups, including that of rebel leader Riek Machar, said on Saturday they had agreed to work closely in their bid to oust President Salva Kiir’s government, as the civil war drags on in the oil-producing nation.

Signatories of the agreement included former government ministers Kosti Manibe and Lam Akol, as well as Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the military’s former head of logistics, who resigned in February citing rampant human rights abuses by the military and the dominance of President Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group.

“In working together, our efforts – political, diplomatic, and military efforts – can be more effective than when we operate as different units,” said Nathaniel Oyet, a senior official in Machar’s SPLA-IO group.

South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011 but plunged into civil war just two years later after Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his vice president, Machar, an ethnic Nuer.

The move triggered a conflict fought largely along ethnic lines, pitched parts of South Sudan into famine, and forced a quarter of the population – 3 million people – to flee their homes.

The United Nations has said the violence amounts to ethnic cleansing and risks escalating into genocide.

Splinter rebel groups:

Machar’s SPLM-IO group has battled soldiers loyal to Kiir for more than three years but several of his generals broke off to form their own movements or to join Kiir’s government.

Other anti-government groups have also emerged since the conflict erupted. Some have battled each other.

In their statement on Saturday the opposition leaders said they would hold a conference “with a view to seeking a united front on common strategic and operational issues”.

“We feel that if we have one objective that is to remove the government … then we need to coordinate our effort and we need to speak one language,” said Oyay Deng Ajak, a member of a group of exiled former officials of the ruling SPLM party who have stayed neutral in the conflict.

Ajak said some contentious issues remained, including over the appointment of a chairman.

The opposition’s move toward unity comes as cracks appeared in Kiir’s ruling coalition. This week, Kiir fired his army chief Paul Malong, raising fears of armed confrontation.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said the government would not negotiate with any new opposition members.

“The government is not recognising this kind of group,” he told Reuters. “We have no timetable for them.”

Malong returns to Juba

Meanwhile Gen Malong returned to the capital Juba on Saturday, saying he had no intention of staging a revolt against Kiir’s government.

On Friday, Kiir said Malong was in a “fighting mood” and had not obeyed orders to return from his home state to Juba three days after his sacking, raising the prospect of further turmoil more than three years into an ethnically-charged civil war.

8 Comments

  1. Gatdarwich says:

    Yes, this is what the patriot armed forces should have done since July 8th, 2016, when killer Nyankiir and the Dinka nationalist, murderer Malong Awan killed the August 2015 peace agreement at J1. So, I guess the coalition armed forces have elected General cirilos Swaka as the head of the coalition armed forces since the Editor only post General Swaka’s photo here. Gatdarwich careless about who heads the coalitions, but whoever he or she might be, must have trained patriot forces who are willing to take the fight to the enemies’ safe havens and villages period

    • info@southsudannation says:

      Gatdarwich, Only son of Ngundeng,
      No, Gen. Cirillo is neither the only one nor the head of the groups of rebel coalition, as far as I am informed. I was simply constrained by time to make a photo that includes all these rebels…Machar, Kosti, Majak, Nyandeng, Lam Akol, Cirillo and yourself, Gatdarwich.
      When I make that photo, it will replace the current one. Let Ngundeng give you some patience, amen.
      Editor

  2. Gatdarwich says:

    Editor,

    Thank you for the clarification. Actually, I would really like it if the armed opposition forces elect General Cirrilos to be in charge of their groups. Any coalition group formed must have a leader.

  3. mading says:

    What do you expect Mr. Editor ? Mad man Gatdarwich is worried that Nguendeng’s appointed Riek Machar will be skipped by the new coalition groups not to lead government in the waiting in South Sudan.

    • johnjerry says:

      Do not worry, South Africa is a holly ground for patriotic leaders. Mahathir Gandhi of India was in jail with Nelson Mandela both leaders liberated their people God willing.

  4. Gatdarwich says:

    Mading,

    You’ve mistaken my intention, Nyanthin!
    Actually, I would really love the newly formed armed opposition forces to Elect someone else, absolutely not Dr. Riek to lead the coalition as long as the person elects is capable of leading the patriot armed forces to the decisive victory against killer Nyankiir and the traitorous Jenges of Evils period
    Let Dr.Riek recuperate in South Africa for time being.

  5. Lokosang says:

    At last the opposition groups have responded to peoples’ call!
    Now we need the joint effort to remove the regime in Juba be translated into action no time to waste.
    God bless you all and God bless the people of South Sudan.

  6. oyhath says:

    The opposition groups took the right step in the right direction. The people of south Sudan have had enough from an incompetent, blind, tyrannical, corrupt, ethnocentric government that has committed genocide and ethnic cleansing against our people

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