Feb 20, 2015 (Nyamilepedia) – The South Sudanese opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) led by the former vice-president underestimated the defection of its former military spokesperson who returned to Juba on Thursday.
Brig Lul Ruai Koang arrived to the South Sudanese capital 24 hours after a press conference held in Nairobi where he announced his defection and the creation of a new group. He further said ready for peace with the government and denounced Riek Machar’s greed for power.
In his response for the first time on the defection of his former colleague, Machar’s spokesperson James Gatdet Dak said he was not sure what transpired and led his colleague to abandon the struggle, but added that he respected his personal decision.
“I am not sure what transpired and led him to return to Juba. It is however his own decision and should be respected as it is,” Dak said refusing to discuss the different rumours circulating about Lul’s defection.
However, he said Lul’s claims that a coup attempt took place in Juba and that Machar was continuing fighting in order to simply reclaim his former positions were not true.
“This is not true. It is a misrepresentation by those who are either out of touch with realities or choose to distort the realities,” the rebel leader’s spokesperson assured Nyamilepedia when reached on Thursday on phone.
He asserted that when Machar expressed deep concerns to president Salva Kiir about six main issues on “governance, corruption, insecurity, economy, tribalism, poor international relations as well as loss of vision and direction” in the ruling SPLM party, he was still the vice president of the country as well as the first vice chairman of the party.
Dak said Machar’s revelations and urge for reforms cost him his positions in the government and in the party and not the other way around.
“This is the reason we have been asking IGAD mediation to first address the root causes of the crisis instead of leadership structure. The root causes to us are not the lost positions or formation of government of national unity,” he said.
The rebel leader’s spokesperson further said without addressing the core issues that always led to crisis within the SPLM since its inception and then introduce better governance system and implement reforms, the crisis will likely reignite.
Lul defected to Machar’s group in January 2014 after the crisis while he was studying in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was not in the country when the war broke out. Machar then appointed him as spokesperson for the military.
NEW REBEL GROUP
Dak also said there was no indication that Lul formed a new movement, saying Lou Nuer officials dismissed his claims as well.
“Lul’s premature return alone to the government without an agreement cast doubt whether he was sincere with his claims or has chance to make a strong argument within the government on the demand,” he said.
At his return from Nairobi on Thursday, Koang who arrived alone to Juba, was received by David Yau Yau, former rebel chief and current administrator of the newly established Greater Pibor Area (GPA).
The former military spokesperson demand the creation of Greater Akobo state for the Lou Nuer similar to the special arrangement made for Greater Pibor of Murle ethnic group.
He announced he formed a movement known as South Sudan Resistance Movement/Army (SSRM/A) and would negotiate with the government on the demand.