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South Sudan rebel commander refutes anti-peace allegations attributed to him.

August 20, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) -- A top rebel official from the Lou-Nuer ethnic group in Jonglei state has refuted allegations that he expressed disappointment to the rebel leader, Riek Machar, over how the administration of the state was handled in the agreement.

Members of the White Army, a South Sudanese anti-government militia, attend a rally in Nasir on April 14, 2014. (Photo AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)

It was reported on Wednesday that rebel commander and governor of the newly created Bieh state by the rebels, Koang Gatkuoth Kerjiok, declared he would no longer remain loyal to the armed opposition leader, Machar, because the latter had allegedly handed over Jonglei state to the government in the peace deal he recently signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 17 August.

In the peace deal document, the rebel group will get 40% of the executive power in the three states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei while the government will get 46% and former detainees plus other political parties will equally share the remaining 14%.

While the rebels will nominate the two governors for the two oil-rich states of Upper Nile and Unity, the government will nominate the governor for Jonglei state but the rebels will nominate his or her deputy.

It was alleged that this point has angered the rebel governor of the state and said he would not be a party to the agreement.

However, Gatkuoth dismissed the allegation as "wishful thinking" saying he had never uttered such comments and has ever stood firm in loyalty to Machar and fully respected the peace agreement.

"The leadership of Bieh state under the leadership of H.E Col. Kong Gatkuoth Kerjiok, dismisses the media report circulated on Sudan Tribune media outlet as a mere propaganda and a wishful thinking by the enemy of peace designed to cover-up president Salva's recent refusal to sign the Compromised Agreement proposed by IGAD plus, Troika and the international community to end the conflict in South Sudan," Gatkuoth said in a statement he sent to Sudan Tribune on Thursday evening.

"On behalf of the State Government, I wish to congratulate, the Chairman Dr. Riek Machar for prioritizing the interest of the South Sudanese who have been subjected to unnecessary suffering for the last 20 months of senseless war imposed on them by their own President Salva Kiir as witnessed by the President's change of heart at the 11th hour," he further said.

However, he recognized that there were some concerns among individuals of the Lou-Nuer community over the arrangement of the Jongeli state's administration, but added that the negotiations were always about give and take, which was understandable.

Gatkuoth added that the exaggerated concerns in the social media and the fabricated statement by the state governor were meant by pro-government elements to divide the position of the rebel leadership.

"I wish to assure the general public that the alleged statement by the State Governor circulated on Media on Jonglei State Gubernatorial position is unfound and intended to mislead the Lou-Nuer community under the SPLM/A leadership," he added.

The rebel governor said Jonglei state leadership in SPLM/SPLA under the leadership of Machar did not take up arms for the position of the governorship but to resist the dictatorship of president Kiir and the massacre of innocent Nuer citizens and other South Sudanese in Jonglei state and across South Sudan.

"Bieh state [Jonglei state] leadership, therefore, calls upon all the Lou Nuer citizens and other Jonglei state communities to firmly remain united under SPLM/A (IO) and focus on achieving peace and stability for the people of South Sudan which has been the Movement's core objective after the war was imposed on us by Salva Kiir's regime," he said.

He called on the Lou-Nuer citizens and other Jongeli state communities in the Diaspora to not attach the suffering experienced by South Sudanese people and particularly Jonglei state citizens to governorship position in the state.

He said only through realizing sustainable peace and stability in South Sudan and in greater Jonglei state that the death of the citizens can be compensated through reconstruction and rehabilitation programs.

Rebels said the deal was sealed in consultations with the opposition's political and military leaderships from Jonglei state.


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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:Aug 21, 2015
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