Published on أبريل 19th, 2016 | by admin0
South Sudan rebel leader’s trip to Juba again postponed
April 19, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – The armed opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) announced that the first vice-president designate, Riek Machar will not travel to Juba on Tuesday, postponing the trip for the second time.
his office in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, August 31, 2015. (Photo REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)
Machar’s official spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, blamed the Juba government for partially contributing to delaying the rebel leader’s trip to the capital.
“The first vice-president designate, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, will not travel to Juba today [Tuesday],” Dak told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday afternoon.
He blamed the situation on logistical challenges, particularly the transportation of the opposition’s chief of general staff, Simon Gatwech Dual, who is expected in Juba ahead of Machar’s arrival.
Dak said clearances for the plane for the army’s top general delayed the travel process, adding that the Ethiopian government had cleared the landing permit for the chartered plane until Tuesday.
“Another challenge is that President Salva Kiir’s government has not yet issued landing permit for the plane which should carry the SPLA-IO’s chief of general staff, his accompanying troops and their weapons,” he added.
Dak further accused the Juba government of allegedly attempting to sabotage the arrival of the armed opposition’s chief of general staff ahead of Machar’s trip to Juba.
He also revealed that the South Sudanese government refused to allow some of the weapons to be airlifted to Juba from Gambella, demanding only a limited number.
Dak, however, said the process for the travel will continue on Wednesday.
JUBA REJECTS EXTRA SPLM-IO TROOPS
Meanwhile, the Juba government accused the SPLM-IO of not adhering to what was agreed upon, wondering why Machar needed extra troops, yet 1,370 were on ground.
“The protection force of the 1st vice president designate of 350 is already on the ground with all their armaments. He does not need any additional armed forces or arms in Juba,” partly reads a statement issued by the South Sudanese government Tuesday.
The government says its only expects into Juba only 40 of the approved armed opposition to make the 1,410 agreed upon as part of the peace implementation process.
“The Government of the Republic of South Sudan will not accept any additional arms or surplus forces to be brought to Juba,” further stressed the statement.
Machar, appointed vice president after South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in 2011, fled the country after Kiir accused him for allegedly plotting a coup in December 2013.
The accusation led to the outbreak of a civil war between Kiir’s forces and rebels loyal to Machar that has seen tens of thousands of people killed and over two million displaced.
The two South Sudanese warring parties signed a peace agreement in August 2015 and Kiir re-appointed Machar as his deputy in February. The two sides have also agreed to share ministerial positions in the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).
The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon on Sunday urged the two warring faction leaders to expeditiously form the long-awaited national unity government.
Edmund Yakani, an activist, said Machar’s return is key in the formation of the TGoNU.
“CEPO strong believes that failure to form the Transitional Government of National Unity in the month of April, 2016 will offer more sufferings to the common citizens of South Sudan from all aspects,” Yakani told Sudan Tribune over phone on Monday.