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Bor students in Uganda deny switching allegiance to rebels

October 14, 2014 (KAMPALA) – A section of students from South Sudan’s Jonglei state studying in Uganda have rejected claims that they had switched allegiance to the country’s rebel faction led by former vice-president Riek Machar.

Jonglei students were responding to a statement issued last week by the Greater Upper Nile Students’ Union in Uganda, which said student leaders from Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states had publicly declared their allegiance to Machar.

The statement cited the government’s lack of commitment to curbing ongoing conflict in the country, which has raged since mid-December last year, as among the motivating factors for the decision.

However, Alphaeus Kuot Gabriel, who represents Bor students in Kampala, has dismissed the claims, saying not all students from the Greater Upper Nile Students’ Union were supportive of the rebel movement.

He also questioned the union’s legitimacy to male statements on behalf of students from other states.

“We would like to inform the public that the so-called Greater Upper Nile Students’ Union in Uganda is a non-existing union and does not represent any students of Jonglei state studying in Uganda,” he said in a statement obtained by Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

“Jonglei State students studying in Uganda do not have any union or association either,” added Gabriel.

He described comments in the statement attributed to the leader of the Greater Upper Nile Students’ Union, Thanyang Jam Dhuor, as illogical, over-generalised and motivated by self-interest.

He also accused Dhuor of acting irresponsibly, urging him to refrain from issuing public statements on behalf of representatives from the region.

“We would like to inform the people of South Sudan, the people of Jonglei state and all South Sudanese in the diaspora that the students of Jonglei state in Uganda are supporters of the legitimately, democratically elected government of the Republic of South Sudan under the wise leadership of Salva Kiir Mayardit, and are in full support of all efforts to bring peace and stability to our country,” said Gabriel.

He told Sudan Tribune that Jonglei students in Kampala remained supportive of government efforts to deliver services to the people of Jonglei and offered assurances of their continued support while studying in Uganda.

The group has called on the student representatives of Unity and Upper Nile states, also mentioned in the statement, to publicly disassociate themselves from the claims.

“We would like to reiterate that there is nothing called the Greater Upper Nile Students’ Union in Uganda and hence no statement will be attributed to any students of Jonglei state studying in Uganda as having switched allegiance to the Rebels,” added the Jonglei group.

According to its statement, the Jonglei group comprises the following members:

- Alphaeus Kuot Gabriel
- Deng Manyiel Deng
- Simon Gian Logocho
- Deng Malual Ayiei
- Ayiei Charles Atem
- Aleer Goi Aleer
- Reech Mayen Deng
- Martha Gajang Awuol
- Jacob Thon Ariik
- Deng Lual Yuang
- Deng Bior Deng

(ST)

- S. Sudan students’ union in Kampala switches allegiance to rebels