December 10, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan government claimed Sudanese security agents arrested a representative of armed opposition faction led by its former First Vice-President, Riek Machar in the capital, Khartoum and closed down their offices.
- South Sudan’s former FVP Riek Machar, speaking to visitors at his residence in Khartoum, on 1 September 2016 (courtesy photo of SPLM-IO)
The Sudanese National Security, several opposition and government sources disclosed, arrested Gatbang Riir Puk, the armed opposition representative in Khartoum. Machar appointed Puk as the movement representative to Sudan in July.
Offices of the movement were allegedly closed down after his arrest and all documents confiscated, sources told Sudan Tribune Saturday.
He did not however, confirm or deny when contacted on Saturday, instead describing relations between the movement and the Sudanese government as “excellent and look forwarding to strengthening them further for mutual interest of the citizens of the two countries, regardless of whoever is in the control of the affairs”.
Unconfirmed reports had claimed that the Sudan National Security were preparing to arrest more supporters of Riek Machar and deport them to south Sudanese capital, Juba, in honour of the Security Agreement signed in August by the Ministers of Defense of the South and Sudan.
Meanwhile, spokesman of the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Mawien Makol, claimed in a separate interview that government was hoping Khartoum would cease helping South Sudanese opposition groups from using Sudanese territory to wage war against Juba.
"We haven’t asked Khartoum to close any rebel offices in their territory but we asked Sudan to refrain from supporting opposing members of the government of South Sudan to create an environment that will help us implement the cooperation agreement," Makol said.
Makol said South Sudan was committed to implementing agreements signed with Sudan, adding that members of a joint border committee from both countries recently met in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to fast-track the process of addressing boundary disputes.
He urged the Sudanese government to desist from making contradictory statements that may hamper efforts to restore full ties between the two neighbors and to give more time for the implementation of the signed deal.
Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir in October gave South Sudan until the end of 2016 to implement the cooperation agreement signed between the two countries in 2012.
The joint cooperation agreement provides mechanisms for oil and trade, security, border demarcation as well as status of citizens.
South Sudan accuses Khartoum of supporting opposition forces loyal to Machar while Khartoum accuses Juba of hosting and supporting armed groups fighting against the Sudanese regime in Kordofan and Blue Nile regions.