September 29, 2016 (JUBA) – Government of South Sudan has said launching a rebellion to destroy the country and attain political promotion are factors driving the recent defection of senior South Sudan Democratic Movement/Cobra (SSDM/Cobra) of Pibor-based ethnic Murle force early this week.
- The South Sudan government delegation and their SSDM/A Cobra faction counterparts after sigining a final peace deal in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 9 May 2014 (ST)
Akol Paul Kordit, the Deputy Minister of Information, said the May 2014 Peace Agreement signed between the government and SSDM/Cobra has been fully respected.
“The President […] created Pibor as an administrative area as proposed by the Cobra faction, created seven counties and all the Cobra forces were integrated into the SPLA with [military ranks] promotion and inclusion in the rank and files of the SPLA,” said Khordit, speaking to reporters in Juba on Thursday.
He cited promotion of former Cobra leader, David Yauyau, to the rank of Lt. General as well as Lt. Gen. Khalid Boutrus Bora, Lt. Gen. Arestiden Kongkong and five other major generals as stipulated in the agreement.
But the defected SSDM/Cobra leaders dismissed government’s narrative. Gen. Boutrus said in the statement announcing his defection on Tuesday that President Salva Kiir’s government failed to honour the agreement by not appointing a presidential advisor and fund any developmental projects in Murle ethnic areas.
Khalid pledged to join “like-minded” armed opposition group to topple President Kiir’s government. The deputy information minister disagreed.
“The President did all to implement the agreement in spirit and letter and also to bring stability and peace to former Jonglei State and Pibor in particular,” said Kordit, adding that the points raised by the dissident SSDM/Cobra leaders are excuses to launch a new rebellion with the hope of gaining political positions.
“The public must know that this is a clear indication that they (SSDM/Cobra) are looking for a pretext [to rebel],” he said.
He urged those who are dissatisfied with their current positions not to use violence as a means to get promotions to political or military leadership positions.
“If you want to be a governor, MP [Member of Parliament], an advisor and any position in the government, don’t use violence to destroy the country, kill people. Let focus on the implementation of the peace agreement,” he said.
The SSDM/Cobra fought President Kiir’s government between 2010 and 2014, demanded a separate state from Jonglei. Their leader, David Yauyau, became the leader of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area curved out from Jonglei state in 2014 and was nominated as Deputy Minister of Defence in April. Yauyau remains loyal to Kiir in Juba although his forces have defected with his former deputy.
The Murle ethnic based rebellion is the third force to declare war against President Kiir’s regime within a week – after former First Vice President, Riek Machar, and former Agriculture Minister, Lam Akol, announced the new armed resistance.
They accused President Kiir and his close officials of violating the peace agreement and returned the country to war.