Tag Archives: SPLM-IO

South Sudan: ministers resigns from government and joins rebels


By Katharine Houreld and Denis Dumo | NAIROBI/JUBA

A South Sudanese minister has defected to the rebels, the second high-level resignation this week from the government side locked in a civil war which has displaced more than 3 million people.

Lieutenant General Gabriel Duop Lam, the minister of Labour, sent a one-page letter saying he would join the rebellion of former vice president Riek Machar.

“I reaffirm my full allegiance and commitment to the … wise leadership of H.E. Dr. Riek Machar,” he wrote in the letter seen by Reuters on Friday.

Oil-rich South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, was plunged into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired Machar, his deputy and an ethnic Nuer.

The fighting that followed has increasingly followed ethnic lines, and in December the United nations warned that it was setting the stage for genocide.

Government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth, speaking at a news conference in Juba on Friday, confirmed Lam’s defection, the second resignation of a senior figure in a matter of days.

Lieutenant General Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the well-respected deputy head of logistics, resigned from the military six days ago but did not say he was joining the rebels.

He cited massive human rights abuses by the military and rampant ethnic favouritism, charging that Kiir was filling key posts in the security forces with Dinka from his home area.

Many human rights groups have reported that the military has looted, raped and killed civilians.

Days after Swaka resigned, the government released a statement saying he had been implicated in a corruption investigation and had fled to avoid justice.

(Reporting by Katharine Houreld and Denis Dumo; editing by Dominic Evans)

South Sudan – SPLM-IO leadership to meet in Khartoum

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – The top leadership of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) under the leadership of the former First Vice President, Riek Machar, will meet in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, in the next few days, opposition officials have confirmed.

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South Sudan’s former FVP Riek Machar, speaking to visitors at his residence in Khartoum, on 1 September 2016 (courtesy photo of SPLM-IO)

“Yes, our leadership will meet in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. It will take place in the next few days,” confirmed James Gatdet Dak, opposition leader’s spokesperson.

The gathering will be the first since 8 July when fighting erupted in the South Sudan’s capital, Juba, between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and bodyguards of Machar.

Dak said the meeting will review the situation following the violence “which was ordered by Salva Kiir in an attempt to kill Dr. Riek Machar.”

The renewed war has threatened the collapse of the peace deal signed in August 2015 to end 21 months of the civil war that started in December 2013.

The opposition leader’s spokesman said members of the political bureau and the national liberation council of the SPLM-IO have travelled from Juba, Kampala, Nairobi and Addis Ababa to take part in the Khartoum’s consultative meeting.

He said the meeting may begin on Sunday or Monday.

Machar was transferred to Khartoum from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after he was extracted by the United Nations at the South Sudan-DRC border.

He fled Juba during the July fighting and walked for 40 days to the neighbouring nation.

He was hospitalized in both DRC and Khartoum on “humanitarian grounds” due to swollen legs and extreme exhaustion.

His health has however stabilized and has been released from hospital weeks ago.


South Sudan – SPLM-IO says leaked UN reports says Kiir and Malong to blame for Juba violence

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudan’s armed opposition faction, the SPLM-IO, under the leadership of former First Vice President, Riek Machar, has appreciated the leaked report of the United Nations which has implicated both President Salva Kiir and his army chief, General Paul Malong Awan, for personally ordering the resumption of the recent fighting in the capital, Juba.

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James Gatdet Dak, Riek Machar’s spokesperson ’Reuters photo)

The excerpts of the UN report, published by the Associated Press (AP) and Reutersover the weekend, have revealed that President Kiir and Awan were responsible for the renewed violence which started at the presidential palace on 8 July between their forces and those loyal to his former first deputy, Riek Machar.

Machar with his small number of troops were dislodged from the capital and days later was replaced with his former chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai, in a “suspicious” controversial process.

Produced by the UN panel which investigated the cause of the violence, the report also accused government forces of attacking foreign aid workers and raping their women at Terrain Hotel in Juba.

The opposition faction said it was obvious that the violence was orchestrated by President Kiir and his group.

“We appreciate that the UN has confirmed this in the report. We have been telling this truth to the world that the 8 July fighting in Juba; the attack on our leader’s residence and base at Jebel on 10 July and the subsequent attacks in the bushes hunting for him for over five weeks, were all resulting from a planned, calculated attempt by Salva Kiir and his group to eliminate him,” Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

He said the suspected plan by Kiir was to kill Machar and dismantle the August 2015 peace agreement the two of them signed.

Dak said it was time for the UN to publish the full report for the public to know who was responsible for the renewed war in the country.

He also said the report would be used together with the African Union’s report which investigated the 15 December 2013 violence as references for future trials once the proposed hybrid court is established.

The hybrid court will try the suspected criminals responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country.

The opposition leader’s spokesperson further commended the anticipated exposure on Monday of South Sudanese officials’ corruption, money laundering and arms deals with companies. The Sentry, a United States based organization of international experts, have announced to reveal for the first time the movement of money from South Sudanese officials and their regional and international in the crime, in a report produced after two years of investigation.

Dak said the “criminals” in Juba under the leadership of President Salva Kiir will not escape from their war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as charges for the corruptions, which he said have lagged South Sudan behind in the “stone age despite its natural riches.”

“They can run but they cannot hide. It is just a matter of time before their bitter chapter will be closed. They will surely be made accountable for the war and economic crimes they have committed,” Dak said.

The current leadership in Juba, he said, has been responsible for the endless suffering of the people of South Sudan.


South Sudan – Machar spokesman says Kiir will not protect Vice-President

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – Official spokesperson of the South Sudanese First Vice President, Riek Machar, said they cannot trust President Salva Kiir to provide security and protection to their leadership in Juba, saying the president is not in control of incidents that happen around him.

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir (C) adresses a press conference together with FVP Riek Machar (R) and SVP James Wani at the State House on July 8, 2016 (Reuters Photo)

“No, we don’t trust President Salva Kiir and his assurances to provide protection to our leadership,” James Gatdet Dak, spokesperson of First Vice President, Riek Machar, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

He said majority of their officials of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), including a national minister, have fled to the United Nations protection of civilians (POCs) site in Juba in fear for their lives.

This, he said, occurred after the SPLM-IO’s Secretary General, Dhieu Mathok Diing, who is also the minister of Energy and Dams, was beaten inside his hotel and briefly detained by President Kiir’s security personnel on Friday despite Kiir’s assurances to protect them.

The opposition leader’s spokesperson was responding to renewed calls by President Kiir over the weekend, in which he called on Machar to resurface and return to Juba from his hiding, assuring to protect him, or even stay with him in his house.

“I have been ready to resume talks on the issues we were discussing before this thing [violence] erupted. We were left with few things to conclude the discussions so that we begin with the implementation [of the August 2015 peace agreement],” he added.

The president was speaking for the first time since his forces clashed at the presidential palace with those loyal to Machar last week, leaving more than 270 soldiers from the two sides dead, 37 of whom belonged to Machar’s forces, officials have confirmed.

President Kiir vowed he would provide protection to Machar and his forces, citing the amnesty he had issued after declaring ceasefire as a guarantee for the security of his deputy and his forces.

“Nobody is hunting for him [Machar] and his forces. If he comes, I will protect him. He will stay with me if [he] feels he is not safe staying alone,” he said.

“I don’t want any more bloodshed in South Sudan,” stated Kiir.

But Machar’s Press Secretary, James Gatdet Dak, said they wanted a “third party force” to be deployed in Juba to create a buffer between rival forces and ensure security in Juba, thus the protection of the leadership, saying they would not trust President Kiir’s assurances.

Dak said they believed that the incidence of fighting at the J1 palace was a plan to harm Machar in crossfire if he tried to leave the palace and run back to his base, which was about five kilometres away from the palace.

He said President Kiir either knew what was happening in the various incidents or was not in control of his forces.

“President Kiir is not in control of incidents that occur around him. He is not in control of his army commanders and other organized forces. So how do you trust protection from a leader who is not in control, or who might have been blessing violent actions of his commanders or security personnel?” he said.

Dak lamented that every time someone was killed or tortured by security personnel loyal to President Kiir, he would say he didn’t know how it happened and who did it.

“For instance, President Kiir’s military intelligence and national security personnel killed our officer, Lt. Colonel George Alex Gismala, and took his body to their military barrack, but the President said he didn’t know who did it. Our soldiers were fired at, resulting to the initial clash that saw the death of five of his soldiers on Gudele road on Thursday, July 7. He [Kiir] also said he didn’t know how it happened. On Friday, July 8, he called the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, for a meeting in his palace and suddenly his bodyguards teamed up with hundreds of his soldiers and began to shoot at Dr. Machar’s bodyguards and the clashes ensued. He also said he didn’t know about how it started,” Dak further said.

He further charged that on Sunday, 10 July, President Kiir’s forces launched several attacks on their base at Jebel and the residence of the First Vice President using tanks and helicopter gunship, indicating that they were after Machar.

He said if Machar did not remain in the palace during the 8 July clashes, he would have been killed by President Kiir’s forces outside the palace and the president would have said he didn’t know how it happened.

“President Kiir did not protect First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar. They happened to get stuck with each other inside the palace. Either of them did not want to leave the palace as the fighting was going on outside the palace,” he said.

He also said the bodyguards of the two leaders took a wise decision by not echoing the fighting inside the palace because each side knew that their leader was going to be targeted and risked getting killed.

“They got stuck inside the palace until a third party was involved in arranging and ensuring how the leaders were escorted to their respective residences at night,” Dak further clarified, adding, “President Kiir was also ensuring his own safety by being near to Dr. Riek Machar in the palace.”

He added there was need for a third force to be deployed in Juba to take charge of its security, further arguing that the opposition’s forces which are part of the integrated forces for the security arrangements in Juba – but remained behind – should also be transported to Juba.

There was supposed to be a total of 2,910 of the military and police force for the opposition fighters in Juba, but only 1,300 soldiers arrived with only light weapons as they were not allowed to bring in heavy weapons.

Dak accused President Kiir’s forces of planning to attack Machar and his forces where they have now been relocated to around Juba.

He said he had received information that President Kiir’s army had ordered their warplanes, helicopter gunships, to search for the whereabouts of Machar to bomb him and his forces.

He also said President Kiir’s faction wants to further dismantle the August 2015 peace agreement by seeking to illegally identify and appoint a “stooge official” from the SPLM-IO to replace Machar as First Vice President.


South Sudan – Kiir calls for talks with Machar to avoid further bloodshed

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudan’s leader, Salva Kiir has called for direct talks with first vice-president, Riek Machar, saying he detests further bloodshed in the young nation.

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President Salva Kiir greets First Vice President Riek Machar before to start a meeting at the South Sudanese presidency in Juba on 3 June 2016 (Photo Moses Lomayat)

President Kiir said he and the opposition leader should talk to salvage peace.

The South Sudanese leader has now dispatched Nhial Deng Nhial, his special envoy and an adviser on foreign affairs to the African Union summit in Rwanda, with an assurance to regional and global leaders about his commitment to talks with his rival.

“I don’t want any more bloodshed in South Sudan,” stated Kiir.

“I have been ready to resume talks on the issues we were discussing before this thing [violence] erupted. We were left with few things to conclude the discussions so that we begin with the implementation [the August 2015 peace agreement]”, he added.

The president was speaking for the first time since his forces clashed at the presidential palace with those loyal to Machar last week, leaving more than 270 soldiers from the two sides dead, officials have confirmed.

The head of Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), Festus Mogae and the African Union special envoy, Alpha Oumar Konare stood alongside President Kiir.

President Kiir also vowed he would provide protection to Machar and his forces, citing the amnesty he had issued after declaring ceasefire as a guarantee for the security of his deputy and his forces.

“Nobody is hunting for him and his forces. If he comes, I will protect him. He will stay with me if feels he is not safe staying alone”, he said.


Meanwhile, Machar claimed the fighting that erupted between his bodyguards and Kiir’s forces in the capital was calculated to kill him.

The ex-rebel leader told BBC Focus on Africa on Friday after abandoning his base in the outskirts of Juba, that he is “around Juba” but would neither disclose his location nor return to town to meet the president until the security issues were addressed.

Machar was responding to the call by President Kiir to meet him.

The country’s first vice-president, however, said he feared for the lives of his officials and for himself after the incident, adding he was also worried about the safety of his ministers currently inside Juba.

“We have a pending meeting, he as president and me as vice president. And also if it were a normal situation, we would meet, but the incident that took place on the 8th [July] in the State House is a very despicable incident, where there was a shootout, and a dog fight, when we were in a meeting,” Machar told the London-based station.

“To me that was a calculated plan to kill me,” he added.

Machar, who also leads an opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, said he was willing to return back to Juba, but after a third force is deployed the South Sudanese capital to take charge and ensure safety and no return to violent confrontations.

He said he could not trust Kiir’s assurance to protect him and his officials.

“That is why the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] Council of Ministers decided that there should be an intervention force, third force, that be deployed in Juba and Juba be demilitarized,” he said.

Machar said he was now waiting for the outcome of a proposed meeting in Juba of the chiefs of defence forces from the region on how to tackle security in Africa’s newest nation.


South Sudan – SPLM-IO accuses SPLA forces of attacking in Unity State

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudanese army (SPLA) has been accused of allegedly violating the permanent ceasefire by attacking opposition forces in the oil rich Unity region.

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South Sudanese soldiers patrol the streets of Unity state capital Bentiu on 12 January 2014 (Photo: Simon Maina/AFP)

Military spokesperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), Colonel William Gatjiath Deng, on Sunday issued a statement condemning the attacks which allegedly started on Sunday morning.

“The SPLA/Juba faction attacked our cantonment sites at Matjang and Tuarkiel in Unity state today at 7:00AM,” said Colonel Deng in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

“The attack takes place in Southern part of Rubkona County but SPLA-IO forces fight back and repulsed back the attackers at 1:00PM this afternoon,” he said.

The fighting which took place in the morning, he added, lasted for 6 hours after which the government forces retreated to Bentiu and Wangkei Payam in Mayom county.

SPLA-IO mighty forces captured 2 PKM and 27 AK-47 machine guns from the government forces, it said.

“This is an indication that the SPLA in government is not serious to implement the security arrangement,” he said.

Furthermore, he added that the SPLA in government is also preparing for full scale of war against the forces in Eastern Equatoria state.

Also four SPLA-IO officers were arrested in Kapoeta and kept under their detention in Eastern town of Torit.

The statement calls on the international community to put pressure on government to release them.


South Sudan – army hea dlauds SPLA as one of Africa’s most powerful armies and says it is only source of unity

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudan’s army chief on Saturday has welcomed and commended a ranking placing it among the top powerful armies in Africa.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) assembled in the capital, Juba on 8 January 2014 (Photo: Mehmet Kemal Firik/Anadolu Agency/Getty)

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA),, according to Paul Malong Awan, chief of General Staff of SPLA, is the only uniting institution in the country despite several attempts by the politicians to dismantle it.

“We have not do much, given the expectations of our people of what we should do but the little we have done can be recognized, like now others are talking about us as being of one of the powerful armies in Africa, which is true”, said Awan after learning that Global Firepower released a research work which including the SPLA among top powerful armies in Africa.

The Global Firepower ranking measures countries’ military strength and assigns a power index number in order to compare them to other countries. Many factors are taken into consideration: manpower, equipment, geographical location, logistics and finance.

Based on available information, South Sudan is ranked among the top most powerful militaries in Africa as of May 2016, according to the group.

South Sudan is ranked as the eighteenth most powerful military in Africa as its sister country Sudan is ranked 8th, Kenya 11th, and Uganda 16th. According to Global Firepower, South Sudan has an active arms stockpile of 110 battle tanks, 250 armoured fighting vehicles, 25 self-propelled guns, 25 towed artillery, 15 multi-launch rocket system, 9 helicopters and 210,000 active soldiers.

South Sudan military budget stands at $ 545,000,000 making it the second highest military budget in East Africa after Kenya recently increased its military spending to $ 595,000,000.

Egypt, which receives billions of dollars in US military aid, tops the list of Africa’s fearsome armies, followed by Algeria, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa in that order.