SPLA-IO military command says peace deal at risk over gov’t actions

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KHARTOUM – The military-high command of South Sudan’s main armed opposition group has said that the revitalized peace agreement signed by them with the government of South Sudan in September 2018 is at risk, according to a statement issued on Monday this afternoon.

This comes after a former SPLA-IO officer who defected on September 21 launched a fresh attack at a SPLA-IO out-post in Kajo-Keji of Central Equatoria state allegedly, with the help of the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

The attack which killed a few soldiers from both sides and displaced civilians is allegedly being set for continuation after the government in Juba allegedly sent in troops for reinforcement of the former SPLA-IO commander.

In a statement on this evening, SPLA-IO spokesman William Gatjiath Deng said the government action to support a former officer against the group highlights the government’s lack of commitment to the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

“Today this morning at around 6:30AM, East African time, Moroto, a popular SPLA (IO) training center of Central Equatoria state, has been attacked by the (SSPDF). Brig. Gen. James Wal Chuol, whose brigade came into attack, said it’s beyond doubt that the regime has shown its true colour in a Broad daylight by pushing a vulnerable newly defected Maj. Gen. Moses Lokiju, to start a proxy operation in Equatoria,” the statement said.

“As a result, the SPLA (IO) gallant forces under command of Cdr. Maj. General John Mabieh Gaar, excessively stormed the rogue forces and chased them in disarray around Moroto bushes at 2:00PM,” it added.

It said that the “SPLA (IO) high command leadership has condemned the attacks in the strongest teams possible and still informing the South Sudan peace guarantors, to keep their eyes open and to take critical views on the current status because this direct belligerences may not only crippled the current agreement but also would leads to the demise and the collapsing of the agreement.”

The main armed opposition group said teh government activities in the Central Equatoria region were meant to recapture areas which are under their command which he said has previously been done by the government in some areas.

“The SPLA (IO) leadership has critically observed and learned the moves which of course, seems resembling the same way regime took the SPLA (IO) bases of Kahkah, Wau Shulluk, Maiwut, Torrow and Pagak GHQs, respectively while our negotiating team had been in Addis Ababa for talks in 2018,” he said.

The main armed opposition group further warned the region to take actions because the activities that it said threatens the peace agreement are thwarted so that the country do not return to a war which it said would be devastating.

“It’s clear that since the regime turned down and procrastinating the security arrangements that would have convinced the army and the whole nation, is a sign of complete mess that aims to turn the country back to war, as such, the leadership wouldn’t accept any kind of violation or tactics which may leads to regain our bases in midst of unproductive implementation of the agreement, otherwise,” the statement further added.

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