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Northern Liech official say in talks with SPLA-IO members in Unity state

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September 17, 2016 (BENTIU)- Authorities in Northern Liech, one of South Sudan’s new states said they are in contact with senior military officials allied to former first vice president Riek Machar Teny to join his successor, Taban Deng Gai.

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Machar speaks on a mobile phone after an interview with Reuters in Kenya’s capital Nairobi July 8, 2015

In an interview with Sudan Tribune, the state security advisor, John Bol Mayak said his government was in talks rebel fighters in oil-rich Unity state.

Mayak said he had lready communicated with the SPLA-IO commanders in the area especially in Rubkotna and Mayom counties to lay down their weapons and join peace with the ex-rebel chief negotiator.

“We are in contact with the SPLA-IO commanders especially those in Gizera under Lok Tanga and those in Mayom under the command of Gen. Biel Wie respectively,” he told Sudan Tribune over phone on Sunday.

Mayak did not, however, hint on how long negotiations between the different groups would take.

“You know when you hold dialogue it does not come in one day, but it is a process that I cannot tell you when it will happen,” he stressed.

Mayak said the state leadership under Joseph Nguen Monytuil is determined to bring peace in the area, adding that those currently in the bush were sons and daughters of the oil-rich state.

But the official spokesperson of the rebel-appointed governor of Unity state, Major Weirial Puok Baluang dismissed as "wishful thinking" claims that the armed opposition faction was in talks with Northern Liech officials.

“The SPLM-IO has more trust to all senior and juniors officers who are currently on the ground. What John Bol Mayak claimed is a great lie that is aimless and should be treated as propaganda," he added.

Buluang said their force commanders in Unity state fully support Machar.

(ST)

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