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Former detainees vow commitment to reunifying SPLM leadership

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July 6, 2015 (JUBA) - A group of South Sudanese former political detainees, or G10, said they have embarked on ways to bridging the gaps over host of issues which the two main warring parties in the conflict have been unable to reach consensus on since the regional led negotiations began in January 2014.

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FILE - South Sudan minister of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor Kuol(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Former South Sudanese cabinet affairs minister, Deng Alor Kuol, told Sudan Tribune on Monday that he and his group were determined to ensuring peace came to the country through reunification of the ruling party.

“There can never be a military solution to political differences. The current war has caused much suffering to the people. Everybody has been affected by the war,” Kuol said on Monday.

The leading official of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said the priority of his group remained the reunification of its leadership in accordance with the January 2015 Arusha roadmap agreement.

“The unity of the SPLM is very important at this moment. The region and the international community are working with us to achieve this. We are talking about the unity of the SPLM leadership, about the unity of our people and the country. I know there are challenges but I still believe that even with this staggering movement in the process of searching for peace, we will get out of the situation,” Kuol said.

He expressed optimism that peace would come to the country soon, stressing that a lot of efforts were being exerted to ensure the two main warring parties under the leaderships of president Salva Kiir and chairman Riek Machar made bold decisions in the interest of peace.

The former detainees returned to Juba in June and rejoined the SPLM faction in the government led by president Kiir. Their ring leader, Pagan Amum, was reinstated as secretary general of the party in government.

The former political detainees left Juba in mid-2014 after their release. They were accused of allegedly plotting a military coup with the former vice president, Riek Machar, a charge they all dismissed as false. No military officer was arrested in the alleged coup plot.

Before the crisis, the group allied itself with the former vice-president, Machar, calling for internal reforms in the ruling party. On 6 December 2013, 9 days before the 15 December crisis, the former detainees held a press conference in Juba under the leadership of Machar, condemning actions of president Kiir, describing him as somebody with dictatorial tendencies.

The tripartite negotiations in Arusha on reunification process which involved three factions of SPLM has now turned into a bilateral negotiation between the SPLM in government led by president Kiir - former detainees included – and the SPLM in opposition led by Machar.

The factions are yet to thrush out outstanding issues on reforms and future leadership of the would-be reunified party.

However, they expressed understanding that an agreement on reunification of the party would not end the war unless a comprehensive peace agreement was reached in Addis Ababa which would have addressed other contentious national issues on governance, compensation and reparation and security arrangements which are beyond the party.

(ST)

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