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S. Sudan rebel commander in Upper Nile rejects ceasefire accord

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February 5, 2014 (JUBA) - A South Sudanese rebel commander in Upper Nile state, whose forces have previously shown allegiance to former vice-president Riek Machar, announced his rejection on Wednesday of a cessation of hostilities agreement signed by rebel forces during peace talks with the government last month.

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A senior rebel commander has accused South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, of hiring foreign troops to help government forces quash a spiralling rebellion in the country (Photo: Samir Bol/AFP/Getty Images)

According to a statement issued on 5 February, the rebel commander and former Nasir county commissioner, who identifies himself as General Gathoth Gatkouth, rejected the security deal.

Machar assumed leadership of various military forces who defected from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) in mid-December following clashes between rival factions of the presidential guards in the capital.

The outbreak of violence appears to have been triggered by mounting tensions within the country’s ruling party (SPLM) after president Salva Kiir sacked his entire cabinet last July, including his long-standing deputy.

The government has accused Machar and others of attempting to stage a coup, although this has been strenuously rejected by the former vice-president, as well as many political analysts.

“GREATLY TROUBLED”

“Many might have welcomed the news of the deal reached in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia a week ago on the cessation of hostility to the ongoing political crisis in the country, but I was not in support of that development from the onset. Instead, I was greatly troubled by it”, Gatkouth, a close associate of Machar, said in a statement.

“I have my own reservations for not welcoming the move. It was not simply for the obvious and predicted fact that the binding [agreement] would not be honoured by Salva Kiir, given his utmost evil intentions to quell the democratic pulses in the country through military means so that he remains in power until his death unopposed, rather, my utter rejection of the deal is on moral and legal grounds”, he added.

Reports of civilians being killed in Juba led to large parts of the army defecting in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states, where many of those killed in the capital hailed from.

“We cannot make a deal with someone who has massacred his own citizens. This is my position as an area commander, and at the same time, the position of those I lead in Upper Nile State - the people whose beloved relatives have been killed in Juba, Bor, Malakal, Bentiu with the remnant of them [are] seeking protection in UNMISS (the UN Mission in South Sudan) compounds in their respective places until today”, Gatkouth said.

Close to a million people have been displaced by the fighting, according to UN estimates, with thousands of civilians seeking shelter at overcrowded UN compounds for fear of being attacked on the basis of their ethnicity.

TROOPS HIRED

The rebel officer accuses Kiir of using the country’s oil money to hire foreign troops – namely the Ugandan army (UPDF) and Sudanese rebels – to kill his own citizens on ethnic grounds.

“Ugandans and the Sudanese rebels from both Blue Nile and western Sudan have been captured alive in many battles we fought and won”, Gatkouth said.

“What legitimacy left to someone who is killing his own people with foreign allies? Salva [Kiir] has forgotten that these very people he is killing are the ones who had voted him into the office five years back”, he added.

In Jonglei, the Ugandan army helped the South Sudanese army recapture the state capital, Bor, despite initial denials from both Juba and Kampala.

He viewed the acceptance of negotiations with the government as a crime, stressing that Kiir must stand down.

In further demands, he also called for Upper Nile state to be liberated from government forces and said Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni must be held accountable for interfering in South Sudan’s affairs.

Machar’s spokesperson, James Dak, confirmed the authenticity of the statement when contacted by Sudan Tribune, but said the commander’s comments had been misconstrued.

“The press release was misinterpreted. What Gen Gathoth Gatkuoth did was to register his disappointment over the continuous violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement. He was issuing a warning that should Salva Kiir’s forces - plus their allied foreign troops - continue with such violations, his forces would fight back and move against the positions of the government. This is what I have just confirmed with the leadership on the ground”, said Dak.

(ST)

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  • 6 February 12:30, by Kalo

    Gen.Gatkouth,you reject ceasefire but final you will agree taking part in the government again because all the S.S rebels like Peter Gadet including Riak were ever doing that,otherwise you are going to finished the Nuer people ,the world have advance,your leader Machar will be killed by regional as happened to George Athor,take care!!
    Wad-Nuba

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  • 6 February 13:10, by Kumbo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCVA84beHhk
    check this you fools South Sudan will never be stable with Dinka Kiir one day one time your time will come your days are numbered

    repondre message

  • 6 February 13:36, by bianaathling

    Good job General we know dinka very well than other tribes in South Sudan because of their greed. We are many people as nuer in General and this senseless war cannot finish us all we could make it up to the last stage but now let us give peace a chance although Mr Wisky President will not honour it.M7 troop are going to leave our territory soon and see if dinka will start another war.

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  • 6 February 13:39, by Konkooc

    whether nuer accepted or reject ceasefire is upto them.
    is tit for tat game.
    breaking news
    Dinka planning B is to now make offensive all over the nuer land if those looters and hungry insist to fight Dinka.
    Dinka is Invincible
    ’nuer may win the battle but not War’

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    • 6 February 13:58, by bianaathling

      Hey KonKooc,
      are u correcting what i was saying.so what is different between battle and war or civil war and conflict?. That plan B of yours will not function other wise most of your stupid generals who declared war on Nuer are going to be finished by White army in the present of your M7 troop believe me.And u should advise your uncle whisky Kueth piny Lualt to avoid taking alcohol.

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      • 6 February 15:18, by Konkooc

        here in brief
        Difference Between War and Battle
        • A battle is a small part in a war and a war is made up of several battles
        • Battle is actual fighting that takes place while war is more of strategy and planning
        • Battle is the real action in a war
        • The outcome of a battle does not decide the winner of a war
        • Battles are of smaller duration than wars

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  • 6 February 17:02, by Mapuor

    All traitors should know that what they are fighting for is not democracy.Let them go to battlefields instead of sending the poor Nuer youth to perish in the war which will only further impoverish them.Yaa Gatcieth,you do not have even a brother in the rebel army,why kill innocent Nuers?

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  • 7 February 02:44, by Dansedit

    the so called ’general’ gathoth is empty bottle ,he should not think osama way , he should be capture alive and take him to rehabilitation center , so that he analyse things first before doing it , this nuerly way of thinking of 19th century is no longer applicable in 21st century , otherwise he is the loser at the end .

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  • 7 February 03:33, by Joseph

    I know Nuer, it’s all about the recent killing of Nuer in Malakal and Leer which the government deny and said Rebel are attacking them. white men know Nuer; when the want to fight you they will inform you that we/I coming. This is true. If Salva fail to resign he must be ready with Riek to face ICC mark my word.

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  • 7 February 05:26, by Odingo

    Thank you General Gathoth Gatkuoth.There is more going back to live under stupid leadership of Salva Kiir, Kuol Manyang, James Nyahoth Mai, John Kong, Salva Mathuok, Douth Guet, Bapiny and his brother, Daniel Akot and Makuei Lueth and Magok Rundial. We must get rid of them before any ceasefire deal.This time it will be Dinka to join Nuer United Kingdom leadership(NUK/SSIA) or we fuck all of them

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