February 26, 2014 (JUBA) – A senior leader of the South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party has dismissed allegation by the government that the former vice president, Riek Machar, and colleagues had attempted military coup to overthrow president Salva Kiir.
- Edward Lino speaking in a electoral meeting held in Khartoum before Sudan’s presidential elections in April 2010 (ST)
Edward Lino, former Abyei chief administrator and a leading elite of SPLM was the latest to join the voices dismissing the coup attempt in a series of articles he has been publishing in the various opposition media and blogs informing the world about what transpired.
He argued that the incidence in Juba had no evidence to prove it was a coup attempt, adding that the aftermath of the violence resulted to the mutiny but did not qualify to be called a coup.
‘To stage a “military coup” has its own prerequisites, which, if not met then there would be no “coup”, which could be mutiny,” Lino wrote.
Lino, who hails from the Dinka Ngok ethnic group of Abyei, further stressed that it was going to be impossible for someone to stage a coup in South Sudan given the composition of the army which had loose alliance and loyalty to different leaders.
“On the other side of events, are those who follow whatever happens on the ground through one-narrow-sky window and thus, miss-understood the issues presented; revealing an inherent depth of unfathomable ignorance,” he further stressed, adding: “Let truth be said as we focus our attention on the future.”
A state minister of information in Warrap state, Nyaneguek, was forced to resign weeks ago after she became the first official in office to state that there was no coup attempt in Juba.
Lino also criticized the interference by the Ugandan army in the conflict and the ensuing massacres of innocent civilians.
He called on the warring parties to give peace a chance by seriously engaging in the ongoing talks, instead of dwelling on unsubstantiated coup attempt blame-game and continued violence.
Many local and international critics of the government’s coup attempt narrative also argued that in staging a coup attempt, important institutions such as presidential palace, residence, military headquarters, national TV and radio as well as the central bank were to be among the immediate targets by a military coup plotter, which was not the case on 15 December.
Violence erupted on 15 December 2013 along ethnic lines between Salva Kiir’s Dinka and Riek Machar’s Nuer ethnic groups in the presidential guards unit at a military barrack in Juba.
Sources say President Kiir attempted to disarm the Nuer soldiers in the presidential guards which caused suspicions and quarrel among the guards resulting to the shoot-out.
Kiir has denied the narrative and accused his rival, Machar, of attempting coup in the capital, but the latter has also dismissed it and counter-accused the former of instigating the violence in order to silent the political opponents within the ruling party.
The violent conflict between the loyalists of the two leaders has since spread to other states and killed about 10,000 as well as displaced nearly a million people as rival factions are accused of targeting civilians belonging to the other.