Home | News    Thursday 21 July 2016

SPLM-IO deputy chairman says “lost contact” with leader Machar

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July 20, 2016 (JUBA) – A senior official of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) led by the First Vice President, Riek Machar, said he has not been in contact with their leader for at least five days.

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SPLM in Opposition leader Riek Machar Teny and his deputy, General Afred Ladu Gore, in Pagak on 9 December 2014 (ST)

Interior minister, Alfred Lado Gore, who is also the deputy chairman for the SPLM-IO, revealed on Tuesday that he never spoke directly to Machar since last week, adding that Machar however spoke to other officials who had to pass messages to him.

“I spoke with Riek last Thursday but since Friday I lost contact, I don’t know where he is, we are talking to other people who may be in contact with him,” said Gore, speaking to the state-owned TV, South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), following a meeting with President Salva Kiir in Juba on Tuesday.

It was not clear why the communication was limited between the two top leaders, whether it was for security reasons in fear of being possibly listened to by security personnel.

Machar fled the capital, Juba, last week after government troops overran his base following four days of intensive fighting. He said President Kiir cannot be trusted and demanded a third foreign force in Juba to act as buffer between the rival troops of the SPLA loyal to President Kiir and his SPLA-IO.

President Kiir has repeated said that he will protect Machar, but the latter said he could not trust the former.

Machar’s forces, only 1,300 in number with light weapons, were dislodged and had to be dislodged from their Jebel Kujur base, a western suburb of Juba, after being overwhelmed by tens of thousands of President Kiir’s troops who took part in the four days of fighting. His officials said they are around Juba.

When Gore was asked by a reporter on Tuesday to explain why his boss has never heeded calls by President Kiir to return to Juba, Gore said Machar required a third force for his safety in Juba.

“The main issue facing him is third party security,” he said, adding that “the president has no problem at all. President has agreed to implementation of peace process.”

In what appears to be a rift within the SPLM-IO, Gore hinted that the movement will not fight President Kiir’s government.

“Machar should return instead of dragging back the country to war. No reason for us to think of other things except seeing to it that peace agreement must be implemented,” he said.

Gore, a powerful politician from Equatoria region of South Sudan, also dismissed as “rumours” that President Kiir’s forces were targeting particular ethnic groups. “There is no group in South Sudan who is targeted. We are the same people, it [is] our country,” he said.

Gore was flanked by SPLM-IO officials including chief negotiator and Minister of Mining, Taban Deng Gai, and Ambassador Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth. The three leaders appeared visibly nervous and under pressure in fear for their safety in Juba.

(ST)

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  • 21 July 00:40, by Mr Point

    It is reassuring to hear from the SPLA-IO leaders that the President has agreed to the implementation of the peace process.

    This may reassure those who have misunderstood how the massacre of the SPLA-IO bodyguards, the deployment of heavy arms, the creation of more displaced and refugee people, the looting and raping by Kiir’s forces is contributing to peace.

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    • 21 July 08:41, by Akuma

      SPLM-IO must be blame for attacking Presidential Palace J-1 because it was a third coup plan by their primitive leader so call Riek Machar, no more cry. Go prepare and come back. South Sudanese are to defend their betrayals like Riek & alike.

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      • 21 July 10:28, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

        Akuma,

        Stop misinformation and propaganda. We know who killed Gismala and for what reasons. Secondly as along as reservations are hanging over the implementation of peace agreement then the killers of South Sudanese are known. One wonders if they went to the bush to torment the citizens who stood firm against Jallabas.

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  • 21 July 04:36, by Force 1

    Any one who complain that the SPLA-IO were massacred need to join any remaining SPLA-IO forces if there is any left; and good luck to you guys.

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  • 21 July 05:17, by Force 1

    Lost contact can be at least 12 hours before it’s recovered; but 6 days of lost contact; well that could means something else! But I can’t wait for the contact to be recovered from Riek after couple of weeks!

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    • 21 July 06:28, by Panda Odhie

      That is automatically bad news to Machar something might have happened to him or he had return to Lou for mobilization

      repondre message

    • 21 July 06:32, by Panda Odhie

      That is automatically bad news to Machar something might have happened to him or he had return to Lou for mobilization

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    • 21 July 08:15, by Eastern

      Of course only fools would expect Dr Machar to continue communication with everyone in SPLA-io. The are always many traitors in any organisation. Even we read in the bible that during Jesus’ time, there was a traitor as well. It’s wise for Dr Machar to limit his communications!

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  • 21 July 10:43, by Maper

    When less than 3000 IO forces acted aggressively and attacked J1, they thought all Equatorians in and around Juba would rise up against the government and install Dr Riek into power. As this didn’t happen, Dr Riek is trusting no one until he gets back to his safe havens - Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya. Afterwards, he will begin to look for others for political legitimacy (IO not seen as only Nuers’)

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    • 21 July 10:47, by Maper

      Maybe Dr Riek is still trekking to Congo or former Western Equatoria.

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  • 21 July 12:04, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    See the environment in which Taban and Gore are speaking. Does one expect to hear real opinion from them in such circumstance? This a government statement through them to distort the truth. The world is not foolish to receive such statements. If JCE was for genuine peace why did it kill Gismala and why is Alfred Taban in custody? South will not accept sectarianism.

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