By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
June 18, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The leader of the rebel South Sudan Republicans Party (SSRP)/ South Sudan Revolutionary Force (SSRF) on Wednesday said his group will disassociate its forces from SPLM in opposition led by the former vice-president Riek Machar.
- A picture of SSRP leader John Wiyual Chuol Chuol published on Facebook
However, the SPLM rebels said they have no deal or any link with this group, which claims to be a splinter faction of Jonglei’s former rebel David Yau Yau, and wondered if it has a real existence.
In statements to Sudan Tribune Maj. General John Wiyual Chol Tang admitted meeting rebel leader Riek Macher at the bushes in Nassir where the two rebel leaders made an agreement to unite their forces and fight together against Kiir government.
Under the agreement the joint forces would be under Machar’s command, he underlined.
However, the rebel leader said they decided to end this alliance in protest to a recent peace agreement Machar signed with Kiir without consulting the allied South Sudan Republicans Party leader.
“I will soon declare an official statement to alert my people and forces to fight and operate separately from the group,” he said.
He accused the SPLM in opposition of failing to change their ideology and maintaining similar thoughts like that of Kiir and his inner circles.
On 9 May and 10 June, the president Salva Kiir and his former deputy agreed to stop hostilities, and to join hands in order to make the necessary political reforms together with other political parties and civil society groups.
Tang vowed his group will continue an armed struggle to fight dictatorship and to bring equality and justice to the people of South Sudan.
If peace is to prevail in South Sudan, the rebel leader said, all the various opposition groups which were disregarded in the various reconciliation process must be included before the SPLM warring factions sign any final peace pact or interim government is elected.
Otherwise he said war will never stop in South Sudan.
The rebel who alleges that his forces are in control of some areas in Northern, central and Southern Upper Nile state said his group is not ready to sign peace agreement with the government.
South Sudan Republicans Party (SSRP) / South Sudan Revolutionary Force (SSRF) is a breakaway faction of the Yau Yau rebel group which recently signed peace deal with South Sudan government.
The tiny rebel faction, in a message posted on Facebook, calls to free South Sudan from the domination of the national army, SPLA, which is seen as serving the interests of one ethnic group.
REBELS DENY KNOWLEDGE
However, Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, denied knowledge of the group and its leadership.
“We are not aware of a group calling itself South Sudan Republicans Party (SSRP)/South Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SSRF). When was it formed and where does it exist?” Dak said.
“ If they were left behind by David Yau Yau as claimed, then it is Yau Yau to verify the authenticity of the claim. Otherwise I would say the SPLM/A in Opposition is neither aware of the group nor an army Major General called John Wiyual Chol Tang,” he stressed.
In a separate reaction, military spokesperson Brig Lul Ruai Koang, also dismissed existence of the group, saying they should have mentioned the areas they are allegedly in control of if they were really in existent.