April 10, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudanese rebels under the leadership of the former vice president, Riek Machar Teny, were now discussing the possibility of establishing a national structure for the first time in the areas under their full control, confirms a rebels spokesperson.
- Rebel leader Riek Machar talks on the phone in his field office in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State February 1, 2014 (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
Spokesperson for the rebel leader, James Gatdet Dak, has confirmed to Sudan Tribune the recent speculations that the group was considering to establish a structure after three months into the rebellion.
“Yes, there is a proposal by our leadership that we organise nationally in this phase of the struggle,” Dak said when reached on Thursday.
“Establishing a national structure aims to collectively and adequately address the current concerns on peace, security as well as humanitarian situation in the country,” Dak further said, adding that “the body shall also brainstorm on better policies as it strategises on future system of governance in South Sudan”.
However, he added that consultations were still going on in order to agree on the type of the structure.
Since mid-December 2013, Machar leads the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in-Opposition (SPLM/A-in-Opposition) and have been fighting against president Salva Kiir Mayardit’s government for the last three months.
The rebels have since controlled some areas of Jonglei state, as well as in the oil-rich states of Unity and Upper Nile, while threatening to extend their control to the other states should the ongoing peace process collapse in Addis Ababa.
Dak also added that the rebel group will tackle how to deal with issues of foreign affairs through the pending structure.
He stressed that the proposal was “participatory and at its early stage,” saying able individuals in the SPLM-In-Opposition worldwide can also contribute their respective written ideas to the leadership about the necessary components of the structure.
The rebels negotiation team and leaders, he added, were leaving Addis Ababa and Nairobi for South Sudan this week to hold consultative a meeting with Machar on various issues, including the proposed structure.
The United Nations estimates that over 10,000 people have died while a million displaced since the outbreak of the conflict.
A shaky peace process brokered by regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which brings together the two parties in an attempt to resolve the current conflict, has been ongoing in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.