Tag Archives: Taban Deng Gai

South Sudan – President Kiir set to establish more states

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, will soon issue another controversial order to increase the number of states from 28 states to undisclosed number, according to his second deputy and longtime ally.

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South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, delivers a speech in the capital, Juba, on 10 June 2013 (Reuters)

Speaking after Tuesday’s meeting, Vice President, James Wani Igga, flanked by the controversially newly appointed First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, said the presidency has agreed to increase the number of states but will soon start with the issue of Malakal and Lol state as the first priority.

Malakal, is a contested capital between West Nile and East Nile states, but which was given to the East Nile by the presidential decree in October last year. Lol is another controversial state in Bahr el Ghazal region.

The two places, according to the Vice President in a statement broadcast by the state owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), are where communities have protested either splits, asserting the order had divided their communities or have been annexed to communities with whom they share nothing in common in that they would prefer to remain alone.

“We have resolved and agreed to increase the number of states but the first thing is the issue of Raja and Malakal. A committee has been formed under the First Vice President and this committee will have to complete their work and report back to the President within seven days,” revealed Vice President, Igga.

He did not say how many more states will be added to the already controversial 28 states.

The two issues the presidency had discussed and resolved, he further added, were the reinstatement of the civil servants who either abandoned their positions or rebelled, either in Juba or in the states, when the conflict erupted in 2013.

The other issue was the issue of cantonment sites for the opposition forces of the SPLA-IO. Two cantonment sites, he said, will be in central Equatoria, one in Eastern Equatoria and another in Western Equatoria.


South Sudan – Machar pledges to return home

Sudan Tribune

(KAMPALA) – South Sudan’s former first Vice-President, Riek Machar has vowed a return to the country, months after violent clashes forced him out of the capital, Juba.

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Machar speaks on a mobile phone after an interview with Reuters in Kenya’s capital Nairobi July 8, 2015

In an interview on BBC’s Hard talk programme, Machar said he was optimistic of negotiating a peace deal with South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

“I’m going to return to South Sudan,” he said from South Africa, adding, “Because President Salva Kiir doesn’t want democratic and transparent and fair elections to be conducted, he attacked us, he has restarted the war.”

Machar’s forces and those loyal to President Kiir clashed in Juba on the eve of the country’s Independence Day, leaving over 200 dead. The incident forced the rebel leader out of Juba, to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Khartoum for treatment.

Renewed violence in the young nation, aid agencies say, has forced over 100,000 civilians to flee into South Sudan’s neighbouring nations.

Machar, a signatory to the now fragile peace deal that led to formation of a coalition government, urged regional and African leaders to help in the restoration of South Sudan’s peace process.

“But I am hoping that wise leaders in the region, and in Africa and the rest of the world will throw up a political process which will bring about peace again, and the resuscitation of the peace agreement, and the reconstitution of the transitional government of national unity,” he told the London-based station.

The rebel leader said he was not warmonger, stressing that his troops only defended themselves against attacks from government forces.


President Kiir said Machar would only be allowed to return to the young nation if he denounces violence and allows the current coalition government to implement the 2015 peace agreement.

“The region should stand with the transitional government of national unity to implement the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the republic of South Sudan. This was the agreement they [regional leaders and friends] made themselves despite our observations but we accepted because we wanted peace and stability in this country,” Kiir said Saturday.

He added, “And I believe the events of July should themselves be proof of concerns which South Sudanese were raising. If they want this agreement to be implemented, they should allow the current first vice president and his team to work with me and other leaders ready to cooperate to implement this agreement.”

The South Sudanese leader was speaking at an occasion he hosted at his residence. A number of with senior cabinet members, security and high-ranking military officers attended the event, a few days after rumour spread that the president had “died”.

President Kiir relieved Machar of his post, appointing the rebel’s ex-chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai as the first Vice President in South Sudan’s interim government.

Machar has, however, described Gai’s appointment as “illegal”.

The opposition leader has called for rapid deployment of the African Union-approved regional forces in order to salvage the peace agreement signed in August 2015.


South Sudan army ready to move on rebels

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – The South Sudanese army will expels rebels fighting its northern neighbour once it receives directives from the high command, the military spokesperson, Lul Ruai Koang said.

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Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang, SPLA spokesperson, is seen at a containment site outside of the capital Juba on April 14, 2016. (AFP Photo)

Speaking exclusively toSudan Tribune on Wednesday, Koang said the army implements whatever orders came from its top leadership.

“We are waiting for the commands before we as the army can take drastic measures. We are an army, we do implement what the top leadership decides,” observed the SPLA spokesperson.

He said the visit, last month, by the South Sudanese First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, to the Sudanese capital Khartoum aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between the two former war foes.

Sudan, according to Koang, requested Juba to expel members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) fighters from its territories.

As part of the recent agreement between the two countries, the SPLA armies are on standby to respond to any orders made by its top leadership to expel Sudanese rebels from South Sudan, he stressed.

Juba had, in the past, been accused by Khartoum of harbouring rebels fighting the Sudanese regime, allegations the latter dismissed.

Series of accusations between the two nations forced Sudan to close its borders with South Sudan in the aftermath of the latter’s secession from the former following the January 2011 referendum.

In 2012, North and South Sudan agreed that neither country would host rebel groups considered hostile to each other’s establishments.

The Sudanese government recently said it had received assurances from South Sudan’s First Vice President that all rebels opposed to Khartoum will be expelled from South Sudan’s territory within 21 days.


South Sudan – Kiir wants Machar out of unity government

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – The South Sudanese government under the leadership of President Salva Kiir say they wished their peace partner and ex-First Vice President, Riek Machar does not return to Juba and assume his position in the coalition government.

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President Salva kiir(C) FVP; Riek Machar (L), and VP, Marilyn, raise their hands after swearing in ceremony of Machar on April 26, 2016. (Photo Lomayat Moses)

Senior officials allied to President Kiir on Wednesday announced willingness to fully implement the August 2015 peace agreement which the President Kiir signed with the opposition leader, Machar.

Presidential advisor on decentralization and intergovernmental linkages, Tor Deng Mawien, described the implementation of the agreement to be moving at rapid speed with the appointment of Taban Deng Gai as the replacement of Machar after he was unilaterally removed from his capacity as First Vice President by Kiir due to his absence.

“Anybody who has been following the turns of events and the level of movement would appreciate the speed at which the president has demonstrated his commitment to implementing the peace agreement because he has now found a partner. General Taban Deng Gai has demonstrated willingness to working collaboratively with the president to implement the peace agreement so that to move the country forward. This is what is very important. It is not who occupies which position,” Mawien, a relative and a strong political ally of President Kiir, said during an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune.

Mawien said it was now time for the region and the international community at large to extend a helping hand and work together with the current transitional government of national unity as recommended by the outcome of the communique of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

“With such changes taking place within the presidency, where there is now a better working relationship, the region and the international community should take advantage of this new spirit and the working environment of cooperation to come out and extend support to implement the agreement,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gordon Buay, one of the senior representatives at South Sudanese embassy in the United States, claimed that the world was now accepting the appointment of Gai because they have realised that it was not easy for president Kiir to work together with Machar.

“The entire world is convinced that Riek Machar cannot work together with President Kiir given the incident of July, 8, this year coupled with December, 15, 2013. Therefore, the world accepted Taban Deng Gai to implement the peace [agreement] with President Kiir simply because bringing back Riek Machar to Juba to the Presidential Palace is like lightening a match near kerosene or benzene. The result is fire, fire, fire, fire, fire and fire,” Buay told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday from Washington DC.

He claimed further that the world leaders have reached a logical conclusion that Riek Machar has no place in the transitional government of national unity because he is purportedly “a combustible product that can easily explode and kill people.”

Gai, on the other hand, he described, is like “an air condition that cools the room. He is the right person to work with President Kiir to cool South Sudan.

However, both IGAD communiqué and United Nations Security Council’s resolutions criticized the replacement of Machar as “inconsistent” with the peace agreement and called for reinstatement of Machar to his position as First Vice President.

Observers are keen to underline that the speed at which the assembly reconstitution and after the replacement of Machar suggests there was an underground conspiracy to remove him from office and replace him with someone who would not stick to implementation of the key provisions in the deal.

President Kiir himself announced at the opening of the assembly that the delay was due to petty political differences and lack of better working relationship between him and Machar at the time.

He declared he would from the time of opening the assembly work collaboratively with Gai to implement the agreement. Gai declared at the inaugural function of his appointment that there was no need for two armies in the country and president Kiir was the only existing commander in chief in the country.


South Sudan – SPLA may declare war on SPLM-IO forces

Sudan Tribune

Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang, SPLA spokesperson, is seen at a containment site outside Juba on April 14, 2016 (AFP Photo)

(JUBA) – South Sudanese national army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), loyal to President Salva Kiir has for the first time in three weeks publicly admitted that it has “resolved to crush SPLA-IO” forces loyal to former First Vice President, Riek Machar, despite their earlier denials that there was no heavy fighting going on around Juba.

“SPLA reiterates it’s resolve to crush SPLA IO warmongers under the leadership of power hungry former FVP Riek Machar. Machar’s bandits will have no where to hide,” declared Brigadier Lul Ruai Koang, the official military spokesperson of the South Sudan’s national army.

The opposition group under Machar had been saying that tens of thousands of troops loyal to President Kiir have been on offensive in the bushes around the capital trying to hunt down Machar from his places of “hiding.”

Although President Kiir’s officials have been downplaying the claims by the opposition, the revelation from the military spokesperson that Machar’s forces will be “crushed” and will have “nowhere to hide” indicates that heavy fighting had been going on in the deep forests around the capital.

The military official spokesperson in the statement he posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday evening and widely circulated on social media, also congratulated the newly appointed First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, on his commitment to peace.

“SPLA congratulates SPLA IO Peace Partners u[n]der the leadership of First Vice Gen.Taban Deng Gai for new spirit they have shown and commitment to full implementation of peace agreement,” Koang added.

However, opposition official loyal to Machar dismissed the threats to crush their forces around Juba, saying instead they were ready to take control of Juba, describing Koang’s claims as “wishful thinking” to try to raise the moral of their defeated troops plus their police forces.

They also described Gai’s relationship with President Kiir as not about implementing the peace agreement, but “rather about mutually violating and destroying it.”

Gai, Machar’s spokesperson said, upon swearing in as new “illegal” first deputy started by scrapping the provision that recognizes existence of two rival armies in the country during the transitional period and also compromised that President Kiir’s faction takes the speakership of the transitional parliament without “democratically” contesting it between the parties.

He said the two men were only determined to return the country pre-August 2015 peace agreement and avoid implementing the needed reforms to change the nation.


South Sudan – new VP Taban Deng to lead delegation to UN

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – The South Sudanese government has agreed to dispatch a high level delegation, led by its first vice president, Taban Deng Gai to the United Nations headquarters in New York as part of efforts to rally global community support.

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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)

“The objective of this mission is to mobilize the international support for implementation of the peace agreement and explain to the leaders of Intergovernmental authorities on development (IGAD) member countries why there were changes within the SPLM-IO leadership,” vice president, James Wani Igga told reporters Friday.

“This is a very important mission,” added the vice president.

Gai, who succeeded the armed opposition (SPLM-IO) chairman Riek Machar, was sworn-in early this week, a move the former rebel leader described as being “illegal”.

“President Salva Kiir wants the country’s first vice-president to explain to the world the recent political changes in nation,” Igga told reporters in the capital, Juba.

The South Sudanese leader, he said, told the armed opposition leaders in the capital, Juba it was their role to make the region understand why Machar was replaced.

“Taban and some members of the team which will select by the President to go to the neighboring countries, including Khartoum as number one, so that we put clearly to them the situation,” explained Igga.

The team will reportedly also tour neighboring countries to advocate for regional support for the peace agreement.

Igga further said President Kiir agreed to accelerate discussions on how to improve security in the country, revive the economy and repatriate internally displaced persons.


South Sudan – SPLM-IO rejects “illegal” Machar dismissal

Sudan Tribune

July 26, 2016 (JUBA) – In response to the Monday development in South Sudan in which President Salva Kiir issued a republican decree relieving his peace partner, First Vice President, Riek Machar, opposition’s officials said the “illegal” action was a long time planned conspiracy to destroy the August 2015 peace agreement signed by the two top factional leaders.

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Riek Machar, left, first vice president of the Republic of South Sudan, and Salva Kiir, the president, at the first meeting of the new transitional coalition government in Juba, South Sudan, in April, 2016 (Jason Patinkin/AP)

Machar’s spokesperson said the situation had been suspected for a long time only that his leadership thought President Kiir and Taban Deng Gai, the newly appointed First Vice President, were going to abandon their conspiracy for the sake of peace in the country.

“This illegal action by President Salva Kiir to dismiss his peace partner, Dr. Riek Machar, who chairs the SPLM (IO) party and commands its army, the SPLA (IO), does not only violate the August 2015 peace agreement, but is also a long time planned conspiracy to put the last nail on the coffin of the peace agreement itself,” James Gatdet Dak, Machar’s spokesperson, told Sudan Tribune on Monday evening in response to the event.

He said since February 2016, the plan came to surface while Machar was still in Pagak, his headquarters before returning to Juba in April, adding that President Kiir with the Jieng [Dinka] Council of Elders (JCE), a tribal group from President Kiir’s ethnic Dinka, designed this plot to destroy the peace deal using Taban Deng Gai.

Dak said he had to cover up for Taban Deng when this accusation came out, in order not to expose him at the time, with the hope that he was going to change and not allow himself to be used by President Kiir and JCE to return the country to war.

“I had to cover up for Honourable Taban Deng Gai. I had to dismiss his suspected conspiracy as baseless in the media many times because I did not want him exposed. I thought he was going to change,” he added.

He said President Kiir and JCE are implementing their “reservations” in the agreement using Gai and that the peace agreement is currently in “very serious danger.”

Dak said the newly appointed First Vice President does not command the opposition army, adding that they disliked him and wanted him removed long time ago, but Machar could not act. He also said over 95% of the political leadership of the SPLM-IO are with Machar.

The opposition’s spokesperson added that President Kiir was aware of the fact that Gai is never popular in the SPLM-IO political and military establishments, but liked his unpopularity so that the peace agreement can die.


Dak also accused President Kiir’s forces of carrying out offensive on Monday as he was appointing Gai to hunt down Machar around Juba with the aim to kill him.

“As we speak, thousands of President Salva Kiir’s forces are on the move towards the areas where they suspected Dr. Riek Machar to be situated. Also their helicopter gunships have been bombing randomly in the forests, trying to locate him. Their aim is to kill him so that he never returns to Juba,” he said.

“But this will never happen. Dr. Riek Machar will someday return to Juba whether they like it or not, whether they will be there in Juba to receive him or not,” Dak added.

The opposition’s spokesman also accused some members of IGAD of being behind the President Kiir’s conspiracy to destroy the peace agreement using the “illegal” and “forced” replacement of transitional leadership of the government and the party.

He said even the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), which is supposed to monitor and safeguard the peace agreement has been “dumb founded” and could not know what to do.

He said Machar did not flee Juba out of his own will but was forced out after he nearly got killed at J1 palace by President Kiir’s forces, adding that only that they could not get chance to murder him inside the palace as his close bodyguards would have also killed president Kiir.

Machar, he said, due to the incidents at the palace and the attack on his base where his house was also bombed, was simply asking for a third party force to be deployed in Juba to guarantee his safety so that he would return to Juba.

“What Dr. Machar was simply asking was for the deployment of a third party force before he would return to Juba. This is what IGAD and AU have also endorsed. So why replace him with the unconvincing pretext that he was away from Juba when all knew why he has been away from Juba?” he asked.

He also said the agreement did not allow for temporary appointment of an acting First Vice President by the President, but instead Machar should have been the one to delegate one of his officials to act if need be.

Dak said he believed that some players in the region and in the international community have taken part in the conspiracy to make South Sudan ungovernable by supporting President Kiir’s illegal actions so that the situation can be used as a pretext for the country to be taken over by the United Nations under a trusteeship.

He said under the current situation where SPLM-IO and SPLA-IO are no longer part of the peace agreement, coupled with the ongoing military offensive by President Kiir’s forces, it would be difficult for Machar to return to Juba any time soon.

He said President Kiir’s faction and their ally led by Taban Deng Gai have been busy trying to track Machar down by monitoring phone conversations and its GPS and bombing his suspected locations around Juba.

It is the second time that Machar has been forced out of Juba by President Kiir’s forces, fleeing for his life. He also fled Juba on 15 December 2013 and his house was bombed.