South Sudan governor says in talks with rebels

Losike Albert Koteen - Wed , 17 May, 2017  

May 15, 2017 (JUBA) - A senior South Sudanese official says he is mediating a peace dialogue with the Sudan People Liberation Army-In Opposition in (SPLM-IO) faction in the country’s Imatong state.

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David Otim (R), principal representative for the SPLM/A in Opposition in Uganda, and Oyet Nathaniel Pierino speak at a press conference in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on 22 September 2014 (ST)

Governor Tobiolo Alberto told Sudan Tribune he is in talks with rebels allied to the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar to lay down their arms and return home.

“We are in negotiation with rebels group. We welcome their positive response to initiating a home base South Sudanese dialogue,” he told Sudan Tribune.

The rebels, however, said the official’s claims on talks were “white lies”.

“I want to overstate that the SPLM/A-IO is not fighting to be included in the national dialogue, or cantonment or any position in the country. Such claim by government authority especially at the level of a government or state government only speaks for the level of ideological bankruptcy and disorientation the regime has descended into,” said the rebel-appointed governor of Imatong state, General Pierino Nathaniel.

He said their forces remain intact under the SPLA-IO Commandership of Riek Machar and are fully committed to the full pursuit of what he said was an infallible demand of the people of South Sudan.

“Federalism, democracy, liberty, justice, accountability and prosperity and not national dialogue and self-enrichment or a plate of food. If anything the national dialogue has been born dead and buried in Presidential palace,” he stated.

The rebels’ governor says Imatong state remained hopeful to South Sudanese aspirations with other brothers in Equatoria region, Western Bar el Gazel and Upper Nile regions.

“The grievances of land grabbing, marginalisation, exclusion, targeted killings, genocide, atrocities and ethnic cleansing have made our resolve to fight for the total liberation and freedom of South Sudan stronger than ever,” he said.

He accused the Juba regime of running a "bankrupt of political program" and allegedly uses an ethnic-shell mobilisation as a tactic to fight wars against other tribes in South Sudan.

“The Dinka ethnic community has been victimised by the regime in the name of power and wealth yet it’s only the members of Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) whose families have settled abroad who benefit,” he further stressed.