October 16, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayardit has warned the army from being carried away by rumours of coup attempts, saying any leadership that will overthrow his regime militarily will not be recognized by the international community.
- South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (Reuters)
The commander-in-chief of the South Sudan army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) delivered the warning on Tuesday at the army’s general headquarters in Bilpam in his second meeting with the army since he returned from Uganda after the rumours of a coup plot.
The Tuesday meeting included all SPLA officers residing in Juba from junior officers to the chief of general staff. Kiir on his way to Bilpam was guarded with huge heavily armed presidential guards packed in several army vehicles including an ambulant.
There were serious rumours of a coup plot by unknown army officers, but Kiir told thousands of soldiers during the meeting that even if the coup plotters succeeded they would face difficulty getting recognition by the international community.
He called on anybody who wants to lead the country to ascend to power through democratic processes.
He narrated that the news about the coup attempt reached him while he was on mission in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, with both the minister of defence, John Kong Nyuon and the Chief of General Staff, James Hoth Mai, adding that it was the deputy minister of defence and veterans affaires, Majak Agoot who was in charge of the army at the time.
The Vice President, Riek Machar, was also abroad in the United States where he was delegated to attend to meetings of the United Nations.
Kiir told the army that the reports that reached him implicated Maj. General Simon Gatwec Dual as having links with the rebels of David Yauyau in Jonglei state. The general who is in prison, he said, will be investigated further to face the law if found guilty or acquitted if not found guilty.
An intellectual from the Lou-Nuer community who asked to remain anonymous told Sudan Tribune that Maj. Gen. Gatwec, who was the deputy director for production at Bilpam, was used as a scapegoat to try to explain "the unknown" to the public, denying that he did not have any link with rebels nor did he involve in any coup plot.
Rumours about a coup attempts have been talked of several times suspecting different groups, particularly from Jonglei state.
The army, he added, should be vigilant and cooperate with the intelligence to communicate any strange moves, but warned them not to listen to rumours any more.
On discontent against the Addis Ababa cooperation agreement with Sudan, Kiir said he did not intent to give away Mile 14 to Sudan, but that was a temporary security arrangement to create a buffer zone between the two armies of Sudan and South Sudan.
Citizens from Aweil in Northern Bhar el Ghazal state demonstrated in Juba on Monday against the agreement, prompting the police to fire live rounds to disperse them.
The demonstrators later on converged in front of the national parliament holding placards and banners and chanting “down, down, Salva Kiir.”
Kiir told the army that even though he was insulted by the demonstrators he did not order the police to fire live bullets to disperse them.
He challenged those who were against the Mile 14 arrangement as returnees from the Diaspora who worked to instigate the situation.
Meanwhile the national parliament endorsed the Addis Ababa cooperation agreement on Tuesday as requested by President Salva Kiir during his briefing to the lawmakers on Monday.