September 28, 2016 (JUBA)- The State Department has strongly condemned South Sudan’s armed opposition leader’s call for armed resistance against the government, describing it as "inexcusable".
- South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar addresses a news conference in Uganda’s capital Kampala January 26, 2016 (Reuters photo)
Rebel leader, Riek Machar issued a statement saying his armed opposition would re-organize to “wage a popular armed resistance against the authoritarian and racist regime of President Salva Kiir,” raising fears young nation could plunge into a renewed civil war.
This came in a resolution passed by the political bureau meeting convened on Saturday in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, under the leadership of Machar, also commander-in-chief of the rebels, who spoke for the first time since leaving Juba.
The State Department spokesman, John Kirby, however, said violence would never resolve the ongoing armed conflict in the world youngest nation.
"We find it inexcusable that he would continue to promote armed resistance," said Kirby, adding "It indicates a lack of concern for the well-being of the South Sudanese people, many of whom continue to struggle just to survive and just as much want to see peace."
Machar, the country’s former first vice president, fled the capital, Juba in July after his forces violently clashed with those loyal to President Salva Kiir; an incident that left more than 200 soldiers dead.
Kiir, citing his former deputy’s absence, later sacked Machar and named ex-rebel negotiator Taban Deng Gai as first vice president.
The armed opposition faction said it had dismissed all its senior members, including Gai, who are part of the coalition government.
Article 2 (d) of the resolution passed by the armed opposition’s political bureau, “Called for reorganization of the SPLA (IO) so that it can wage a popular armed resistance against the authoritarian and fascist regime of President Salva Kiir in order to bring peace, freedom, democracy and the rule of law in the country.”
The group, in their resolution, also accused President Kiir’s regime of allegedly attempting to “assassinate” the leadership of the armed opposition when fighting erupted at the presidential palace in July.
The opposition group, however, said they were for peace and to “resuscitate” it, calling for rapid deployment of regional forces in order to salvage the peace agreement signed in August 2015.
They claim both the peace accord and the transitional national unity government have collapsed in its absence as a peace partner. In August last year, a peace deal was signed by both Machar and Kiir, but fighting has put the accord at risk of collapse.
“(The SPLM-IO) call on the international community to declare the regime in Juba a rogue government,” the resolution reads in part.
It urged those monitoring the peace deal to suspend their activities.
Barely five years after its independence from neighbouring Sudan, South Sudan descended into civil war in December 2013. Tens of thousands of South Sudanese civilians were killed and more than 2 million displaced.