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South Sudanese rebels, former detainees discuss relations


May 14, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Sources close to the intra South Sudanese peace talks in Addis Ababa have revealed that high level talks have taken place between the leadership of the rebel SPLM-In-Opposition of Riek Machar and the 12 former detainees led by the former secretary-general of the SPLM, Pagan Amum, aimed at forging possible collaboration between the parties.

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Pagan Amum (Getty)

“The two groups have been in consultations for the last two days on the way forward. This is whether to join ranks under one organization, or remain separate groups that would only collaborate as they share vision and objectives for reforms in the country,” a source who preferred anonymity told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

The group include Pagan Amum, former SPLM secretary general, Mama Robecca Nyandeng, presidential advisor and widow of late leader John Garang, Deng Alor, former cabinet affairs minister, John Luk, former justice minister, Kosti Manibe, former finance minister, Oyai Deng, former security minister, Gier Chuang, former minister for roads, Madut Biar, former minister of telecommunications, Majak Agot, former deputy defence minister, Cirino Hiteng, former youth minister, Chol Tong, former Lakes state governor and Ezekiel Lol, former diplomat to US.

Prior to the 15 December 2013 violence which erupted in South Sudan, the politicians who are senior members in the SPLM, were allied to the former party deputy chairman, Riek Machar. On 6 December 2013, they held a joint press conference in the nation’s capital, Juba, calling for reform in the party and accusing the party chairman, Salva Kiir of “dictatorial tendencies.”

Following the violence, they were all arrested, except Robecca Nyandeng. Seven of them were released two months later but Pagan Amum, Oyai Deng, Majak Agot and Ezekiel Lol, remained in detention, as they had been accused of coup attempt. They were however released five months later in April for lack of evidences to support the alleged coup.

The first seven released former detainees however played a neutral position in the peace talks, calling themselves a “third bloc” which did not want to join either side in the conflict, despite being named by Machar as members of his delegation and demanded for their release throughout the peace talks.

"The SPLM-in-Opposition felt betrayed by the attitude of their former comrades when they decided not to join the armed resistance," the source added.

Analysts see the position adopted by the former detainees as an attempt to make themselves look like “good guys” in the eyes of the international community so that they may snatch the proposed interim government’s leadership if both president Salva Kiir and opposition leader, Riek Machar, were to be forced to step aside.

However, the recent shift in the roadmap agreement which necessitates Kiir and Machar to spearhead and negotiate the terms of the transitional governance and its leadership provides slim chance for the g-12 to lead the transition.

The five-month old bloody conflict, which has killed tens of thousands and displaced over a million people, erupted when president Salva Kiir allegedly ordered his presidential guards unit commander to disarm the Nuer soldiers within the guards.

Kiir who had been under pressure from reformists within the ruling party, including his arch rival, Machar, accused the latter of attempted coup. Machar on the other hand dismissed the allegation, saying Kiir was using the “false” accusation in order to get rid of reformists in the party.

He also said that the president tried to arrest him and as a result he decided to escape and was forced to form an “armed resistance” after government forces continued to pursue him in the bushes.

A shaky peace talks to resolve the conflict has been ongoing in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).


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  • 14 May 2014 08:42, by Akol Liai Mager

    I wish Ustaz Pagan Amum can just establish his own "Nile People Development Party" (NPDP) and leave the troubled men to fight over irrelevant SPLM Party. All intellectuals, young and olds will join Amum and South Sudan will be lifted off from Poverty and Violence Territories.

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    • 14 May 2014 08:51, by Akol Liai Mager

      I am sure Ustaz Amum had only discussed ways of ending the violence and will never align himself with the forces of violence against their own citizens.

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      • 14 May 2014 09:57, by omoni jr.

        Akol Liai Mager.
        Do not dream of creating another party, you see people in Jonglei started eating coconuts ,that is the good signs of beginning of lawlessness. we have to go back to the square one...Republic of Somalia gonna be looked far better than this jungle.Aluta continua...................victory is certainity..Insha-Allah

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      • 14 May 2014 10:15, by Adodi Jotuwa

        The problem with the G-12 is that they tried to align themselves with Dr. Hopless Muderous Riek Machar before Riek’s forces turned the guns against the Shilluk in Malakal/Upper Nile to prove G-12 wrong that they were used by Riek for "top political reasons" when they were locked up since there are no relatives/followers of the detainees fighting along side the murderous rebels.

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      • 14 May 2014 10:17, by Adodi Jotuwa

        The problem with the G-12 is that they tried to align themselves with Dr. Hopless Muderous Riek Machar before Riek’s forces turned the guns against the Shilluk in Malakal/Upper Nile to prove G-12 wrong that they were used by Riek for "top political reasons" when they were locked up since there are no relatives/followers of the detainees fighting along side the murderous rebels.

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        • 14 May 2014 10:27, by Adodi Jotuwa

          The G-12 forgot that Dr. Hopeless Murderous Riek betrayed them in 1991 and how can he (Dr. Hopeless Riek )claim to be a "reformist" within the party he betrayed in 1991 and know nothing about? Riek only returned to SPLM in 2002, hoping to be forgiven by the real PhD holder Dr. John Garand De Mabior, but not history which repeated itself on December 15th, 2013 up to date.

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          • 14 May 2014 10:43, by omoni jr.

            Adodi Jotwa,or whatever.
            Do not lecture nonsense here,we Equatoria are determined to have referendum and leave you Dinka and Nuer keep butchering your cheap lives.It is just matter of time. We are really tired of living together with useless animals who dont behave like human beings. We Equatorians can’t take it anymore. Enough is enough.

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            • 14 May 2014 17:08, by San Manyuon

              Hey Buddy,
              I don’t like to make negative comments, but don’t be proud of anything or of the "name equatorians". Most of the equatorians contributed nothing, but had join arms against the SPLA/M during the course civil war, so just enjoy the freedom given and thank those who gave their life for, mostly dinka and Nuer. Currently, many people in South Sudan are sorry for what had happened,lives lost.

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    • 14 May 2014 10:41, by Fundamental Change icon

      If we want real and genuine peace to return to south Sudan and achieve meaningful reconciliation then the proposed interim government must be without both Kiir and Machar but instead empower a neutral, charasmatic leader like pagan Amum to steer the country in the transitional period otherwise having Kiir or Machar will add salt to the wounds created by them and instead protract the conflict .

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      • 14 May 2014 16:42, by Frak Cho

        Dr Riek Machar, in most of his interview, he still accused late Dr John Garang that Garang "controlled SPLM as personal". Dr Riek Machar has no honour for SPLM people should understand this! He’s using SPLM twisted SPLM-In Opposition because SPIM is popular so as he gain support nothing apart from that!

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  • 14 May 2014 18:57, by Don-Don Malith Rual

    Ethnic conflicts are best solved by far allocation of resources & power to each ethnic segment;" Self-determination versus pre-determination of ethnic minority in power-sharing system will be the best solution to this problem. Sudan is a country of multiethnicities,multiracial,multireligious,Multilinguals, multicultural and multitribal,it is a country that has history of people migrating into and

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  • 14 May 2014 19:12, by Don-Don Malith Rual

    out of it, these people have mixed & intermixed racially, religiously, lingually & culturally,sometimes this mixing has been peaceful or violent, therefore,interim government will not solve any problem nor will interim government minus Kiir will solve the conflict either but, if we want the problem to be solve then let’s the Government of the day finish it task then a fresh election be conducted..

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  • 14 May 2014 19:27, by Don-Don Malith Rual

    & then the presidency has to go to the minority groups, even if it goes to the people of (Ngalam)the better because our majorities will not help us but sudanism will unit us. A great man show his greatness by the way he treated the little one, let’s be mindful of the way our people are suffering all over the world and let’s think of where we comes from "the long walk to the peace we had in 42ys w

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  • 14 May 2014 23:22, by Jubawe

    I am so proud to be Equatorian, Thanks God again by Created us Equatorian Waaw. by Being Equatorian your fit anywhere without proplem, Onces again Thanks to Equatorian leader who are preparing for our Equatorian referendum to split from South Sudan, South Sudan will never be same and safety zone any more.

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    • 15 May 2014 03:31, by Joseph Canada

      Mr. Omoni Jr and jubawe, the tour referendum team was here last week and I will be mob aliasing people and drive them to the polling station as I did for the other referendum !! For those who think we never contributed would now go and contribute to their lies more! People need to get out of Juba Torit and Yambio and go back to their fishing Rhodes and spear hunting. Useless homosapeans!!!!

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    • 15 May 2014 06:12, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      There will not be such a thing as Equatorians referrandum, it is not gonna happen in South Sudan. you are poor but we will not let you go scot-free. Nuer and Dinka will unite and kick your butts to the last person.

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