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South Sudanese rebel leader rejects transitional government without programme


May 3, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan’s armed opposition leader, Riek Machar, has said he would only accept a transitional government that comes with a workable programme to be agreed upon by both parties to the conflict and implemented before next elections.

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South Sudan’s rebel leader and former vice-president, Riek Machar, (C) attends an interview in Upper Nile state’s Nasir on 14 April 2014 (Photo: AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)

In an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune on Saturday at an undisclosed location in Upper Nile state, Machar, the former vice-president turned rebel leader, revealed that he had had lengthy phone discussions with visiting US secretary of state John Kerry on how to end the more than four-month-long conflict in South Sudan.

Kerry met with president Salva Kiir in Juba on Friday during which they discussed the importance of forming a power-sharing transitional government with Machar.

However, the rebel leader, who had been Kiir’s deputy for eight years, said any agreement on a power-sharing transitional government without a programme would be meaningless.

“I asked him (Kerry) what would be the purpose of a transitional government? It would not be workable without a programme to implement before elections come,” Machar told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

“We need to have a peace agreement first with a new constitution. Putting [a] transitional government first is not realistic,” he added.

Machar who was sacked last year for criticising Kiir’s leadership style said the differences between him and the president had never been personal, denying the conflict was related to a power struggle between the two leaders.

He said the matter had been about the future governance of South Sudan, hence the need to restructure the state on the basis of a peace agreement and a federal constitution.

He said he had long pushed for peaceful democratic reforms within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) prior to fleeing for his life and forming an armed resistance.

He claims president Kiir had lost legitimacy for orchestrating the “genocide” in Juba against members of the Nuer ethnic group, to which Machar belongs, in mid-December last year, saying the international community is downplaying the atrocities which took place in the national, while continuing to talk about the recent killings in Bor or Bentiu.

The UN Mission in South Sudan says more than 200 civilians were killed while sheltering in a mosque in Bentiu after rebels recaptured the town from government forces based on their ethnicity and nationality.

Two days later armed youths stormed the UN base in Jonglei capital Bor, killing dozens after reportedly becoming angered by hearing residents inside celebrating the fall of Bentiu.


Meanwhile, the rebel leader said he had reiterated his rejection of a rejection to the proposed deployment of a regional deterrent force under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to visiting US secretary of state John Kerry.

“I would agree to deployment of a protection force from the region as part of the current peacekeepers under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), but not as a separate deterrent force that will fight against us like the Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF),” he said.

He further accused the government and foreign forces allied with the Kiir government, including Uganda and Sudanese rebels, of allegedly violating the cessation of hostilities agreement signed by both sides in January.


Machar also stressed there was no point in meeting Kiir face to face at this juncture of the negotiations between the two rival delegations, saying this “may be counter-productive”.

However, he added he had plans to meet with Ethiopian prime minister Haile Mariam Desalegn soon.

US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power on Friday said the two South Sudanese leader must meet to reach an agreement to end the suffering of South Sudanese, saying “We urge president Kiir and Riek Machar to swiftly agree on a date for face to face talks”.

The opposition leader further accused Kiir’s government of releasing seven former political detainees on “bail”, while keeping the other four recently released politicians under “house arrest” in Juba despite assurances to free them.

The group of 11 had been accused of collaborating with Machar to organise an alleged coup plot in December to overthrow the government, which triggered the violence.

He also accused the government of violating the January cessation of hostilities agreement by not withdrawing Ugandan forces, as well as Sudanese rebels, fighting alongside the South Sudanese army (SPLA).

“The government also denies humanitarian access to the areas under our control,” Machar said, accusing Juba of launching further offensives against rebel positions despite the resumption of peace talks last week in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.


The South Sudanese rebels have also denied on reports claiming that Machar had relocated to the Ethiopian border, allegedly due to fears over insecurity.

“Who said that? Dr Riek Machar has not relocated anywhere. He is inside South Sudan,” Hussein Maar Nyuot, a spokesperson for the rebel delegation in Addis Ababa, told Sudan Tribune on Friday in a separate interview.

The rebel official was reacting to reports which appeared on social media and forums claiming that the opposition leader had been forced to relocate to Burebiey village on the Ethiopian side of the border following claims that some armed Nuer youth in Upper Nile state’s Nasir town had declared allegiance to Upper Nile state governor Simon Kun Puoch.

Further unconfirmed reports also on social media and online forums claimed that rebel stronghold Ulang county was captured by SPLA forces after the local chief, identified as Tut Thon, declared allegiance to governor Puoch.

However, Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, has since confirmed to Sudan Tribune that government forces did overrun Ulang and set it ablaze.

He said the SPLA was later repulsed by the White Army that reinforced the area from Nasir and that rebels had regained control of the area since Saturday.


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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 3 May 2014 21:56, by Mi diit

    US government is confused. What is really the point of power sharing and transitional government under the same Salva Kiir and even when issues that led to disagreements are not resolved. Kiir should step down and allow true democratic visionary leaders like Dr. Riek Machar to chart the future of the country.

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    • 4 May 2014 01:51, by barbayo

      Raik is not democratic leader ,why killed thousands of his people ,he want rule who ? killed civilians in Bentiu about 793 innocents in Bor 3845 innocents some in churches moques in Malakal 2763 killed by Raik and they all civilians ,how democratic leader killed 7401?

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    • 4 May 2014 03:07, by barbayo

      Raik Machar is joking to life youth Lou Nuer

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    • 4 May 2014 05:44, by Toney Toney Matot

      Hi Midiit(James Gatdet Dak)
      do not think of shared government at all, only face the defeat. The army chief of general Paul Malong awan is very determine to bring you to your knees. James hoth was so reluctant and giving you favours to scored victories against the governmentforces. You will be lucky if President Kiir pardon you and accept to share government with idiot Nyagat Machar.

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      • 4 May 2014 06:13, by Mi diit

        Toney Toney Mitot (Ateny Wek Ateny),
        I feel proud when you call me James Gatdet Dak any way. I know you fear that professional journalist to death. Just continue to loot the resources of South Sudan with your alcoholic boss because this year is the end of your sorry leadership. You will NEVER reach 15 December, the day you started genocide against the Nuer people in Juba.

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        • 4 May 2014 06:26, by Mi diit

          US gov’t should also understand that Kiir was not elected by the people. He was rigged into the presidency and people did not bother because what they wanted in 2010 was to go over that process of elections and focus on referendum which was the most important thing in their lives. Kiir can NEVER win any free and fair democratic elections after independence.

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          • 4 May 2014 06:30, by Mi diit

            Americans should study well the genesis of the problem. It is broader than they think. Forming a transitional government under Kiir again will not solve the problem because he will get back to square one. Remember that both Kiir and Dr. Machar were together in the government when the conflict started, so getting them back together again is not a solution. Kiir must go for true change to come.

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            • 4 May 2014 06:33, by Mi diit

              US government is also helping escalating the war and more death instead of cornering Salva Kiir to step down by more military pressure from the rebels and diplomatic pressure from the international community. Their quest for more regional troops means expanding the war. They brought UPDF which fought the rebels and killed civilians. Now they want more regional troops to deter (fight) rebels.

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              • 4 May 2014 06:40, by Mi diit

                War will intensify b/n the rebels and the regional forces & this will make Salva Kiir feel secure, protected and even be on more military offensive against the rebels and civilians suspected of supporting the rebels such as the Nuer ethnic group. He will lose interest to talk peace. This will force the whole Nuer tribe to arm and fight back. America is making the real genocide in S. Sudan..

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                • 4 May 2014 06:48, by Mi diit

                  US knows very well that Dr. Machar has been the most daring voice that advocates for democracy, good governance, freedoms & human rights in the country. Instead of trusting that incompetent and killer dictator Kiir, who also lied not once but many times to president Obama of America, US should empower Dr. Machar to take over power & turn the nation around if they love South Sudan.

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            • 4 May 2014 06:43, by Toney Toney Matot

              Midiit(James Gatdet Dak)
              sorry brother, I’m not atype of the people who advocate for tribal war as you used to urge Nuer youth to fight meaningless war of thrust for power Riek Machar who claimed to have been prophesied by nguendeng as South Sudan leader. you should follow some one with clear objective but not retarded politician like Riek Machar who last made KPA and was not honored by NIF regim

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              • 4 May 2014 06:57, by Mi diit

                Toney Toney Mitot (Ateny Wek Ateny),
                How dare do you compare a PhD holder like Dr. Riek Machar with vision and patience to an illiterate alcoholic, incompetent murderer like Salvatore Kiir Kuethpiny? Well, I told you, we don’t need your amnesty, because we will remove you before reaching 15 December, the start of the genocide. Pray for this summer. Paul Malong will die soon, mark my words!

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                • 4 May 2014 07:27, by Toney Toney Matot

                  Midiit(James Gatdet Dak)
                  I knew Riek Machar before you could know him since the inception of the SPLM/A and we were admiring his command style but we lost trust on him when he declared theoretical coup in Nasir. some Dinka with in his command who opposed him were cool murdered, among the victim was Captain Kuol Deng Kuol.Riek machar is a one man show and will never one day come our president.

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                  • 4 May 2014 08:32, by Mi diit

                    Mitot (Ateny Wek Ateny),
                    Not all poor & coward youth of Dinka will accept to die in the forests for no reason at all when they have incompetent, illiterate and alcoholic president and governors to defend while their own mothers are walking naked, dying of hunger. Why should they die poor and families remain poor and lose war?

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          • 4 May 2014 15:41, by mathem jech amer

            Mi diit
            Your self claim Nuer leader is always complaining about the honouring of cease fire, how did he entered Malakal and Bentiu when there was ceasation of hostility? Did he respect the cease fire? He was claiming that after release of 11 detainees, he will stop fighting, did he do that? Shame on Nuers and their gods.!!!

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    • 4 May 2014 08:36, by Malou Manyiel

      Mi diit, Never dream in your entire life of Riek Machar becoming a president in South Sudan. The likes of you and many Nuer except the few made him to be confused and talks shit like you. The only solution for him is to go to exile. You always talks Dinka, Dinka, Dinka, and in the other hand, you want Riek to become president, do you want him become president of South Sudan or only for Nuer?

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    • 4 May 2014 12:24, by Frak Cho

      Mi diit, you are the one confused not the US. Your dream for President Kiir stepping down will remain a dream! If you can’t change your tactics of your war against Dinka as a tribe, you will fall miserably your dream for Riek Machar becoming a president. All those with him were rebels leaders!! and ....!!!

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    • 4 May 2014 13:58, by Zeki

      Nuer please take care for your future and forget about Riek Machar is a gone case, Riek Machar is infectious to future of Nuer even innocent Nuer please think over it, that witchcraft of yours will never help you or lead you to future I like you Nuer people but the characters for Riek will let you be hate by entire country.

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  • 3 May 2014 23:46, by Makjohnson

    It is not helpful whatsoever a government still Kiir –lead. It is doubtless that, Salva K is leaving whether by finding middle ground in Addis talks or belligerent. UPDF smell the coming hell and swift to withdraw. Who will fight Nuer? Now he should decide on whether to give Machar task of reuniting the country or risk the Dinka’ lives to satisfy only him and the dogs.

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  • 4 May 2014 01:39, by barbayo

    Machar was confused ,he took arm with out program,which program he was talking about? now Ulang was captured by SPLA under Nuer youth ,Raik Machar have not objectives , Machar ran Ethiopia with group , Hassin Mar nyuon, live in Bole hotel with some groups in Addis

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    • 4 May 2014 07:11, by The rock

      Reik is gonna regret this time, Hoth is nolonger there and this rebels will suffer like they never did, they will die from both sides Nuer youth and the SPLA. jst wait and see what is going to happen to them now they are running outta Bentiu and Naser is almost falling to the hand of Gen. Garang Mabil

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  • 4 May 2014 08:32, by Majongdit

    Mi Diit,
    So, you have extended Kiir’s stay to another Dec. 15? Oh good boy! You told us he would leave by 16 May last year. You told us he would celebrate xmas a Peresident. You told he will not stsy there by Feb. You told us he will be removed with the coming of rains. Please boy, if you have not yet made up your mind then keep quiet.

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    • 4 May 2014 08:41, by Mi diit

      Incompetent, alcoholic visionless murderer called Kiir Kuethpiny can disappear ANY TIME between now and 15 December. Just count the days and oops! I am serious, when you put your fist in the face of the Nuer you will not survive for long. History will repeat itself soon. Remember this riddle: it is 8x2. Got that!

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      • 4 May 2014 15:50, by mathem jech amer

        Mi diit, Bentiu son, wicdail, Jalak
        I mark your words that"Kiir will go by 16 May". so please do not change the period again, we are waiting 16 May for Kiir to be replaced by Riek.

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  • 4 May 2014 09:37, by Jalaby

    Rommel and other Dinka boys, all my predictions about Mr. Kiir will sack his VP Machar and the south upcoming war between Dinka and Nuer have all become 100% true!
    I’ll repeat you literally what I said before about what will happen next before it happens as if I am reading you the future from a paper you Dinka boys!

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    • 4 May 2014 09:45, by Jalaby

      After Mr. Kiir sacked Taban Deng as Unity state governor in July 2013,I immediately asked this question in my comment in Sudantribune website:
      Could Machar be the next?
      and I said:
      I personally won’t be surprised if it happened but Machar is red line that Mr. Kiir shouldn’t dare to cross it otherwise Mr. Kiir

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      • 4 May 2014 09:51, by Jalaby

        will put the whole country in jeopardy and will destroy its national security and put the nation in great chaos!
        See guys, that what I said before, now the south in great jeopardy and its national security is gone, I told Mr. Kiir that Machar is red line and should never be crossed but he never listened!!!

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        • 4 May 2014 09:55, by Jalaby

          Read what I said before in 2013 in details and how all my predictions have become very true!

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          • 4 May 2014 10:03, by Jalaby

            Mr. Kiir never falsified my prediction but in fact fired Machar!
            Immediately after Machar was fired of being VP, I asked this question:
            What is Machar new strategy?
            I predicted you that Machar will rebel and I literally said:
            Anyone who knows Machar will immediately tell you that he is not a kind of person

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            • 4 May 2014 10:06, by Jalaby

              who can give up but willing to fight to death in achieving his believes and objectives but never ever surrender!
              Machar knows very well that Kiir is not going to give up the presidential chair in 2015 no matter what?

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              • 4 May 2014 10:12, by Jalaby

                Having said all that, Machar is not that a tamed lamb who can stay calm and do nothing but crossing his hands to his chest!
                and I added:
                in reality "Machar" will launch the fierce rebel from behind the scene and cripple the regime and collapse it!

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                • 4 May 2014 10:15, by Jalaby

                  And I then said to Mr. Mi diit at that time:
                  I’m telling you, the upcoming war between Dinka & Nuer is unavoidable, all the evidences point to one fact that the war is underway!
                  Read what I predicted before in details:

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                  • 4 May 2014 10:25, by Jalaby

                    So Mr. Rommel and his Dinka boys,
                    You need to know first who is Jalaby and how that guy is so intelligent and brilliant, please take what I ever I say as real fact and never think about it even for one second!

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                    • 4 May 2014 10:29, by Jalaby

                      Please don’t underestimate Jalaby and make joke of yourself when you say "I am 23 years old!!" LOL laughing
                      You know Mr. Rommel, you can fool some people some time but you can’t fool all the people all the time (especially Jalaby) my friend! LOL LOL

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                      • 4 May 2014 13:49, by BM-21

                        MI DIIT(MI BIIT)
                        As the rest my brothers spoke before me,Riak will not rule South Sudan again by taking up the army to take over the elected gov,t.
                        if deny Kiir was not elected by people of South S. what brought him to power?aske Riak he was the first person cast his vote to the bok of Kiir.

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    • 4 May 2014 09:55, by barbayo

      you are not prophet , you are primitive like Raik as believe Nyuondeng , Raik his dream will never happen at all in our world

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  • 4 May 2014 10:44, by Mapuor

    Hahahah Mr traitor’s family are in London married to whites.He does not care about Nuers whom he hated most by not allowing even his sons and daughters to marry from them.Hunger has already reached climax in Bentiu and death is imminent in a matter of days.Dear Nuer, just rally behind Magok Rundialand listen to your government in Juba.

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  • 4 May 2014 17:31, by Kim Deng

    This is not about Dr. Riek Machar ruling South Sudan, but the Mighty Nuer WArriors are fighting the war which was declared on them by your coward King, Slava. Therefore, the Mighty Nuer Warriors will never stop fighting until the whole Dinka Kingdom is burned down to ashes, and no matter how long it may take.

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