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S. Sudan rebels claim army defections in Central Equatoria


January 5, 2014 (BENTIU/JUBA) - The spokesperson for rebels opposed to President Salva Kiir in Unity state on Sunday claimed several soldiers mutinied in parts of Central Equatoria state towns and have now joined the opposition forces.

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SPLA soldiers marching in a past event (credit:goss)

Peter Riek Gew told Sudan Tribune that soldiers under the command of Brig. Gen. Nhial Wuothkak who defected in Central Equatoria had joined their cause and were allegedly advancing towards the country’s capital, Juba.

The military spokesperson admitted some soldiers defected from their barracks in parts of the country’s Central and Western Equatoria states, downplaying its impact.

“There is no sign of collapse in the army", Aguer told reporters on Sunday, stressing that army defection was part of any conflict.

Media institutions in South Sudan have also been warned against reporting on rebel any rebel claims of advancing towards the capital.

On Saturday President Kiir’s spokesperson said that drunken soldiers were responsible for shooting in the same army barracks where infighting in mid-December between the presidential guards, triggered the current crisis.

Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar and others of attempting a coup, but this has been strongly denied.

The fighting in Juba led to reports that Nuer civilians were being targetted resulting in the Nuer generals defecting in Jonglei and Unity states. Civilians from the Dinka ethnic group have also been attacked in the conflict, most notably when around 20 civilians were killed after they sought shelter at a United Nations base in Jonglei state’s Akobo county.

Both sides have sent delegations to peace talks in the Ethiopia capital, Addis-Ababa mediated by East African regional body (IGAD). However, the two sides are yet to reach a ceasefire agreement or hold direct talks.

Gew said that the rebels’ preconditions for the talks were clear. The rebels are demanding that all political detainees be released.

"The 11 senior figures from South Sudan’s ruling SPLM who were innocent", he said.

The government has so far agreed to release all, but three of the detainees.

In the weeks preceding the conflict, Kiir’s oponents within the SPLM had become increasingly critical of his failure to allow a meeting in which the top members of the party could elect a new chairman ahead of the 2015 elections.

Kiir, who has been chairman since the death of John Garang in 2005, was expected to be challenged by Riek Machar, suspended SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum, and Garang’s widow Rebecca Nyandeng.

"How many times did the detained politicians and the former vice president call for peacefully demonstration in the country, but Kiir himself disagreed with them because he knew that he has lost 100% support from the top party?" asked the rebel spokesman.

Gew said that the violence against civilians in Juba had forced many high ranking officials from the government and army to break away from Kiir’s leadership.

A member of Unity state’s parliament, who wished to remain anonymous, said that President Kiir should "tell the truth" about what happened in Juba during the first days of the conflict.

Those opposing Kiir say that by appearing in military fatigues and accusing Machar of staging a coup, he was attempting to use the army infighting to silence his critics.

The UN estimates that at least 1,000 people and nearly 200,000 have been displaced over the last three weeks of the conflict.


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  • 6 January 2014 07:55, by Knight In Shining Armor

    This war is not going to last long. Who would want to fight his own people along side with foreign force? of-cause, only Kiir and his militias. Soon, any reasonable person in the SPLA is going to cross the river to the other side. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of the history. Even friends are going to turn against him. They are just waiting for the 00:00 hour. let power of freedom reign

    repondre message

    • 6 January 2014 08:01, by Malakal county Simon

      Panoum Luabil
      Blame it on Kiir and Kuol Manyang, for starting sense-less war by killings innocents Nuer civilians in Juba, who have no political connection with Dr Machar....

      repondre message

      • 6 January 2014 08:02, by Malakal county Simon

        Knight In Shining Armor
        You on the right side of the history, brother!!!!

        repondre message

        • 6 January 2014 09:29, by Bentiu son

          Dear Bor South,plz,advices those two old men Kuol Manyang n liar Makuei Lueth who work hard to make Madina Bor war zone No.1.Buddies,let this tribal war bypass you since Bor Town was liberated by freedom fighters as to give a breath to Bor innocent civilians.We are heading towards Juba n foolish Dinka Rek in Warap.Plz,do not wake sleeping lion for yourselves while u are non target for us.

          repondre message

          • 6 January 2014 09:43, by Bentiu son

            Incompetent Salvador had ripped what he had sown in Juba on 15/12/2013 where he had ordered his Guelweeng militias to murdered in cold bloodily about 4000 Nuer unarmed civilians due to his political wranglings with a Nuer son Dr Machar Teny. Why targeted Nuer civilians if is the root causes of this conflict is a political ones? Why Salva Militias failed to kill too others Senior SPLM’s tribes?

            repondre message

  • 6 January 2014 09:35, by Bauer

    My beloved Country is in a civil war. If it is a war of democracy, I don’t know. But all I hope for is the people fighting should not kill the innocent civilians, they have nothing to do with power. You dinka boys should strip that ’born to rule’ slogan. Many of you are running away while the others have stayed put. May the dawn of peace return to SS ASAP! Let him just handover power and go!!!!!!!

    repondre message

  • 6 January 2014 09:40, by Majongdit

    The former press secretary of Riek Machar is posting a lot of false news in the website. When a platoon of less than 30 people defects then it is reported as being a march to Juba. It is a shame.

    repondre message

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