March 25, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) have distanced themselves from armed rebel groups who have negotiating with the Juba government in Kampala last week.
- South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar addresses a news conference in Uganda’s capital Kampala January 26, 2016 (Reuters photo)
The negotiations were reportedly aimed at forging a new separate peace deal between the Juba government and the rebels.
Paul Gabriel Lam, a rebel deputy spokesman, said the groups that meet in Uganda’s capital were individual of refugees status who fled to Uganda and denied they had connection with the main armed opposition faction allied to ex-First Vice President Riek Machar.
“It’s unfortunate that refugees in Uganda have become targets of Juba regime to help further the current war in South Sudan. This is a new tactic that the government of Juba is used to strengthen its depleting forces,” Lam told Sudan Tribune.
He said one John Data, a leader of the Kampala group, was allegedly being used to undermine armed opposition activities in Yei.
Lam claimed that Data deserted the SPLA -IO last year and became a refugee in a Uganda-based camp due to personal health issues.
“Therefore, the claimed agreement signed in Kampala as reported on 22/03/2017 did not involve any single members of the SPLA-IO, but the claims by Yei-River governor [David] Lokonga is a kind of bridging team of criminals who take advantage of the suffering of South Sudanese refugees in the camps,” he stressed.
Last week, a peace deal was brokered by Evangelical Presbyterian Bishop Elias Taban in Kampala between armed rebel groups and Yei-River state authorities. Governor Lokonga witnessed the signing of the agreement.