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South Sudan rebels shut down unofficial website: spokesperson

July 17, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The spokesperson of South Sudan’s former vice-president, turned armed opposition leader, Riek Machar, said a controversial website purportedly started in support of rebel movement will be shut down.

Mabior Garang de Mabior (L), the son of late South Sudanese leader John Garang and member of the rebel negotiating team arrives in Addis Ababa with other delegates on 2 January 2014 (Photo:AP/Elais Asmare)
Mabior Garang de Mabior (L), the son of late South Sudanese leader John Garang and member of the rebel negotiating team arrives in Addis Ababa with other delegates on 2 January 2014 (Photo:AP/Elais Asmare)
The controversial site, hosted in Canada by supporters of the rebel movement has in the past two days dominated discussions in the social media when two senior officials of the SPLM in Opposition went public criticising each other over the matter.

While Captain Mabior Garang de Mabior, chairman of the national committee for information and public relations, disowned the website as not officially representing the rebel movement, Brig Lul Ruai Koang, spokesperson for military affairs on the other hand seriously criticised personality of Mabior, and maintained that the site, www.splminopposition.org, was official.

However, the opposition leader’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, when contacted to enlighten the public on the matter clarified that the website would be closed.

“I want to inform you that it was a minor misunderstanding between the two officials. It should have been handled administratively. It is unfortunate that it went public. The Office of the Chairman has ordered for immediate closure of the website,” Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

“I also want to clarify that the two officials have no personal problem between them. They have now sorted out the matter,” he further added.

PUBLIC ACCUSATIONS

The two political and military officials, Mabior and Koang, respectively, went public on Tuesday and Wednesday on the fate of the website.

While Mabior on Tuesday distributed to media a press release denying having established the website and accused unnamed individuals or groups of trying to discredit the movement, Ruai on the other hand challenged him.

“There are some individuals and groups attempting to discredit the SPLM/SPLA by seting up fictitious social media accounts and websites,” he added, warning readers not to rely on such unofficial site,” he said.

“The public is advised to ignore any website that claims to officially speak on behalf of the SPLM/SPLA,” he said, adding that his office was working to establish a website and smart phone app for the rebel movement.

Koang, however, responded with serious criticisms directed to Mabior as a person, accusing him of not doing anything for the last four months in his “shadow ministry” office of information and public relations.

“Comrade Mabior, while still the deputy spokesman for SPLM delegation on peace talks in Addis Ababa did not bother to establish a website for our supporters to be kept updated about peace talks as well as made no efforts in knowing the level and degree of sacrifices made by our gallant SPLA forces in the battlefields,” Koang said while revealing knowledge about existence of the website.

Koang also criticised Mabior for not seeking a briefing by his office on the media activities on the military since his appointment.

“If Mabior wants to establish a website for his shadow ministry of information and public relations, he should not and must not start by denying, disowning, discrediting and throwing into dustbin efforts and sacrifices made by other comrades in the armed resistance,” he added.

(ST)

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