East Africa

Kiir, Machar clash over armies


South Sudan president Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar are in disagreement again over armies.

Brig. Lul Ruai Koang, SPLA spokesperson told Radio Tamazuj that government still doesn’t recognise the presence of SPLA-IO forces in Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal.

Lul stated that Juba city has already been demilitarised partially according to the singed security arrangements agreement.

Lul described opposition fighters that are still fighting the government in Equatoria and Western Bahr al Ghazal as bandits.

“The opposition has no presence in Bahr al Ghazal and Equatoria regions, those who are there are robbers along the roads,” said Lul.

Other government officials have made the same argument previously to justify attacks that SPLM-IO say violated the ceasefire.

“They are not part of SPLA-IO, they are just criminals. So we only recognise that they are in Upper Nile, their cantonment site will be there, they have no presence in the other areas,” he told the radio.

The deputy head of SPLM-IO Advance Team in Juba Ramadan Hassan Baku previously warned over the government’s continuing refusal to not recognise their forces in Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal, accusing the government of trying to create an army of Dinka and Nuer only.

Machar camp speaks

James Gatdet Dak, the Press Secretary Office of the First Vice President, Chairman of SPLM (IO) and C-in-C of SPLA (IO), says the argument by their partner in the Transitional Government of National Unity [Kiir] that SPLA (IO) forces are not in Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal regions is not true.

“We have forces in the two regions. It is important that these forces are assembled and located in cantonment areas for the success of the implementation of the Security Arrangements.”

Dak said denying their existence is not helpful for the stabilization of the country’s security.

“And if there are “bandits” who try to take advantage of the non-implementation of the security arrangements in these two regions, the best approach would be to assemble the SPLA (IO) forces and contain them in particular locations so that the “bandits” can be separately and easily identified.”

South Sudan’s government and SPLM-IO rebels have a long-running dispute over whether the rebels turned ‘peace partners’ of the government may establish cantonment sites in the two mentioned regions.

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