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New rebel group formed in South Sudan against creation of 28 states

October 30, 2015 (JUBA)- A new rebel group in South Sudan has been formed in protest of the presidential establishment order expanding the 10 currently constitutionally recognized states to 28 states, despite signing of a peace agreement with the opposition faction (SPLM-IO) led by the former vice-president, Riek Machar.

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A member of South Sudanese rebel patrols the streets of Malakal, on March 4, 2014 (Photo AFP/Andrei Pungovschi)

The order generated mixed reactions from different political forces and ordinary citizens in the country, while government supporters lauded the presidential decision .Also, it raised a heated debate in the country with critics questioning the constitutionality and legality of the order.

A group calling itself Tiger Faction New Forces (TFNF) announced in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday that they decided to take up arms to fight the government of President Salva Kiir until he decides to reverse the order.

“The un-constitutional Presidential Order decree by Kiir has left us with no choice but to wage a protracted armed struggle against his government and the corrupt clique in Juba," said the TFNF chairman General Yoanes Okij who also identified himself as its commander in chief.

OKij vowed to fight the government in Juba until President Kiir revoke the his presidential decree 36/2015.

President Kiir, according to the statement, was attempting to give away the land of ethnic Shilluk tribe in Upper Nile state to members of a section of ethnic Dinka from which he comes.

The group, which is predominantly composed of ethnic Shilluk members, charged that the order was a desperate attempt to derail and frustrate the implementation of the peace agreement reached last August.

The statement said that the new territorial administrative division was a "flagrant violation" of the constitution particularly articles 55 (3), 59 (a), 86 (1) 85 (2) and 86 (5), 162 (1), (2), (3) and 101 (f).

The new rebel group accused President Kiir of attempting to give Chollo (Shilluk) land to the Dinka, threatening the national security of South Sudan warning that the Order open the door for conflict and Balkanization of the country.

"The Establishment Order adversely affected the tribal territorial boundaries of people of South Sudan including, the Chollo Kingdom. One of its ramifications is the division of Chollo kingdom into two parts with some in one state west of the Nile and others in the east of the Nile. The overall objective of such division is to ensure tribal domination of others tribes including Chollo in the newly established Dinka’s states,” further stressed the statement.

The TFNF went to say that there is no historical evidence upon Dinka’s claims of Chollo land. It added the Chollo nation only offered their hospitality and provided protection to the Dinka neighbouring t Kingdom

The rebellion, if confirmed, may threaten the ongoing efforts to implement the security arrangements specially in the Upper Nile State.

Last July another Shilluk group commanded by Major General Johnson Olony, merged with the SPLM-IO opting for a national agenda instead of tribal claims.

(ST)