Home | News    Friday 14 May 2010

Athor demands cancellation of elections results, dissolution of South Sudan govt

May 13, 2010 (JUBA) – Jonglei state’s renegade General, George Athor Deng, has come up with fresh demands that the current Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) be dissolved and a new transitional government be formed to supervise holding of the Southern Sudan referendum.

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GoSS Council of Ministers chaired by Salva Kiir Mayardit (ST)

The former Deputy Chief of Staff in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) told the Southern Sudan-based widely listened to Miraya FM radio, in an exclusive interview on Thursday, that he called for the cancellation of the elections results all over Southern Sudan.

He said a new transitional government would be formed to include all the political parties and independent candidates, describing the incumbent President-elect, Salva Kiir Mayardit, as “blind” who doesn’t see the unfolding situation.

The defeated independent gubernatorial candidate accused the current SPLM-led GoSS leadership of allegedly abandoning the party’s vision which was based on the principle of democratic transformation.

Athor, who recently began rebelling two weeks ago, warned against what he described as an imminent comprehensive war in Southern Sudan unless his demands are met. He is currently in an area between Duk Padiet and Awet, a closer location to Jonglei state’s capital, Bor, than his previous location.

Athor also claimed that he is receiving support from within the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

The SPLA spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Kuol Deim Kuol, refuted the presence of Athor’s supporters within the army, adding that Athor’s forces are not more than a hundred soldiers, and that they have fled to uninhabited areas.

Kuol threatened to eliminate Athor’s forces by military means if he continues to make ‘false allegations’. However, he stressed that SPLA wants the issue to be resolved peacefully.

Senior officials in the government had earlier indicated that Gen. Athor could be having a coordinated presence among some military leaders in many towns including Juba, the capital.

The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has pledged to mediate peace between the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) and the renegade General.

A delegation from UNMIS, headed by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Jasbir Lidder, on Wednesday met with the Vice President-designate of the government, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, to explore ways to initiate the process.

The meeting discussed the possibility of halting the crisis by reaching a peaceful settlement to the ongoing clashes in the troubled Jonglei state through negotiations with Athor.

The UN team briefed the Vice President about their ongoing phone contacts with Gen. George Athor whom they said was expressing willingness to negotiate with the government.

The delegation expressed UN’s readiness to provide logistical support for the process.

Dr. Machar said he supported the idea and the peaceful initiative, but would however consult first with his colleagues as a government before he could promise any decision to the UN body.

Athor initially demanded the sacking of the incumbent governor-elect, Kuol Manyang Juuk, who he accused of stealing the election results and warned that he would attack his state’s capital, Bor, if his demands were not met.

"We are organizing our forces in all areas and we are going to converge in Bor….attacking Bor," Athor told Reuters adding that he is willing to negotiate.

It is widely believed that the renegade General could be recruiting forces from armed youths from various communities in the state and other disgruntled former SPLA soldiers who were not confirmed or incorporated into the Southern Sudan army.

Athor recently claimed yet another victory over SPLA forces in their recent clashes for the third time during which he said his forces on Wednesday killed more than 30, captured a military vehicle and destroyed a number of them. The SPLA confirmed the clashes but denied the number of casualties.

The minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, Michael Makuei Lueth, rulled out any negotiations with a "renegade."

"There is no question of sending a delegation to a commander who has mutinied. So there’s nothing like that. He must be crushed militarily," Minister Makuei told New Sudan Vision from Juba.

"As the Government of Southern [Sudan], it’s decided that this issue should be addressed militarily. The position of the caretaker Government of southern Sudan since day one has been that this thing should be addressed militarily," he said.