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Renegade General George Athor denies formation of coalition government

May 1, 2011 (WUNROK) - Renegade General George Athor Deng Dut on Sunday broke his silence and denied the formation of the coalition government which was widely reported in Khartoum media last week.

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Rebel George Athor and some of his troops (www.sudanvotes.com)

On 27 April, The pro-Sudanese intelligence service SMC posted on its website a story claiming that six rebel factions formed a coalition council in which a renegade General George Athor was selected as president. It further claimed Abdel Bagi Ayii was vice president, Peter Gadet Yak secretary of defense and Gatuak Gai general chief of staff and deputy secretary for operations.

Bol Gatkuoth Kol was also alleged to have been named secretary general of foreign affairs and official spokesman of the movement.

Abiel Riing Mijak, a senior member of the rebel South Sudan Democratic Army (SSDA), on 29 April told Sudan Tribune->http://www.sudantribune.com/Six-rebel-factions-names-Athor,38738], that six rebel factions formed a coalition council of rebel movements and named renegade General George Athor as president of the new body. He claimed that the body would serve as an entity for strategic planning and the organisation of the unified operations.

“Yes, it is true. The council has been formed. It was formed on Wednesday ", said Mijak.

"There have been suggestions and discussions for the last one month to form a body which would control central command and strategic planning and develop clear and unified policies to guide operation of various movements. This has now been formed. The chairman and the vice have been unanimously appointed. General George Athor and General Abdel Bagi Ayii Akol were selected to lead the transitional period of the coalition of movement", he further said.

In an interview with Sudan Tribune on Sunday, Mijak claimed the council decided to postpone the formation of the new coalition after he had spoken to the media.

"The council decided to postpone the formation of the coalition after General George Athor proposed deferment so that processes of organisations are initiated and completed. The decision was also taken after I have spoken to the media", said Mijak explaining that the meeting was held by the members who decided to form the coalition by consensus.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune from undisclosed location in South Sudan on satellite phone, renegade General George Athor said, the media reports were not correct but admitted that a meeting was called and held on Wednesday by Sultan Abdel Bagi Ayii Akol over unified operations and command.

"The media reports that there was a coalition government of which I am said to have been elected as its president and Sultan Abdel Bagi Ayii Akol as vice president are not correct. This did not happen," said Athor, admitting that a meeting was called and held by Sultan Abdel Ayii Akol with other rebel groups on Wednesday to discuss how to coordinate operations and other strategic planning under one command.

"Yes, I am aware a meeting was called to discuss how to form a unified command. The members of course discussed about forming a coalition but which should be after organisation. A final consensus was reached on Wednesday in a meeting called by Sultan Abdel Bagi Ayii. I was informed but I told them to put it on hold because we are still in the process of organising ourselves.

"The discussions on time to establish the interim leadership have not been concluded. All members of the movement are still discussing processes of organisation to hold convention in which leadership of the movement shall be elected in a free and fair voting," explained Athor.

He further explained that his movement, the South Sudan Democratic Movement is a democratic movement founded on democratic principles and values in which any leader in the movement who wants to hold any position must achieve it by election.