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South Sudan’s former detainees say ending war precedes dialogue and SPLM reunification

June 3, 2017 (JUBA) - The former South Sudanese political detainees have issued a statement stating that ending the war in the country should be the priority before to hold a national dialogue or to discuss the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)’s reunification .

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Former SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum attends his court trial in the South Sudan capital, Juba, on 11 March 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Andreea Campanu)

"We note with dismay that the current war which resumed in earnest in July 2016, and its myriad effects of cruel targeting of civilian populations, has sadly spread to cover the whole of Upper Nile, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria states as well as parts of Lakes, Warrap and Aweil states, with catastrophic consequences", reads a June 2, 2017 statement bearing signature of Pagan Amum Okiech, leader of the former political detainees.

The statement their refusal to join the dialogue process or other political efforts to end the three-year crisis was taken after a meeting where they deliberated on issues of war and peace in South Sudan.

"The issues discussed included; The proposed National Dialogue, rampant insecurity and its effects, critique and implementation of ARCISS (peace agreement), SPLM reunification, the current humanitarian catastrophe and the collapsed economy," said the statement.

The group said they support, in principle, the national dialogue as a concept for resolving the deep national crisis "that the government of the day has led the country into"

But the opposition group voiced they have "grave concerns and reservations with the manner and the modalities" set up by President Salva Kiir Mayardit to conduct this political process.

"The manner and the modalities set up by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, which, in our view, are not in line with the known best practices. these include, among others, lack of consultation with other stakeholders on agenda and nomination, unilateral determination of modalities, ground rules and guidelines, lack of transparency of the process, absence of inclusivity and integrity," it adds.

Amum, however, said they are disposed to engage on the matters they have enumerated with the view of finding remedies or initiating a new independent and inclusive process.

The former detainees and several other opposition groups call to create a conducive environment and to implement a number of confidence building measures like the cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access and the inclusiveness of the national dialogue process.

(ST)