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Defections aim to obstruct peace implementation in South Sudan: SPLM-IO

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August 16, 2021 (JUBA) - Defections from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) aimed at preventing full implementation of the revitalized peace agreement and the recent one has the same purpose, a spokesman said on Monday.

Manawa Peter GatkuothSPLM/A-IO former chief of staff Simon Gatwech Dual recently defected from the group accusing its leader Riek Machar of nepotism and weakness.

Manawa Peter Gatkuoth SPLM-IO Acting Chairperson of the National Committee for Information and Public Relations on Monday regretted that some circles in Juba have continued seeking, in vain, to distract the peace implementation process and encourage defections of the main opposition group.

Gatkuoth said before Dual, there were five other defections from the SPLM-IO but they all failed to destabilize the stance of the Movement towards the full implementation of the revitalized peace agreement of September 2018.

He disclosed the existence of a disagreement between the parties over the number of troops provided by each signatory group for the unified national army.

"It was agreed that the new national army is to be formed of an equal number of troops from the two sides. The SPLM In Government (SPLM-IG) provides a half and the other signatories a half," said the SPLM-IO spokesman.

The revitalized peace agreement does not include such a disposition on the number of troops provided by each party but the deal was struck during an IGAD-facilitated workshop in Khartoum on the security arrangements.

"However, the SPLM-IG now refuses to implement this agreement and demands to have 60% and the other signatories only get 40%," he said.

The IGAD which brokered the peace agreement now proposes 55% for the Government and 45% for the opposition groups.

"The IGAD was expected to press the parties to remain committed to the brokered agreement. Such a proposal is not good because it will encourage them to seek to renegotiate other dispositions and undermine the whole process," stressed the SPLM-IO official.

President Salva Kiir several times called for international support to implement the expensive security arrangements but donors said that Juba has to ensure transparency in the management of its oil income before.

The SPLM-IO official appealed to the recently splintered faction to form its own political organization and to join the national efforts to achieve peace and stability in the country.

"This would be a constructive approach for peace and stability in South Sudan instead of seeking to weaken the main opposition movement," he said.

He further added that five other breakaway groups before Dual attempted to weaken the SPLM-IO but they failed despite the support they received from the "anti-peace circles".

"Yes, they defected but the SPLM-IO remains and will continue to its vision for democracy, transparency and development," he said.

Forces loyal to the breakaway SPLA-IO’s former chief of staff Simon Gatwech Dual clashed recently with the SPLA-IO in the Magenis area near the Sudan border.

IGAD’s Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu met with Riek Machar on 3 August and called to cease hostilities.

Also, Gebeyehu deplored the slow progress in the implementation of the security arrangements, stressing they remain a big challenge facing the country three years after the signing of the peace agreement.

IGAD Chairperson Abdallah Hamdok is expected to visit Juba in the coming days to discuss the enforcement of the security arrangements with the two parties.

(ST)

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