S. Sudan rebel chief downplays army’s 30-days ultimatum

August 31, 2017 (JUBA) – The chief of staff for South Sudan rebels, Lt. Simon Gatwech Dual has downplayed the 30-days ultimatum issued by defense minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk for the rebels to surrender or be “crashed”.

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Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, the chief of staff of the SPLA-IO, talks to the press at a rebel military site in Juba on April 25, 2016 (Photo AFP/Charles Lomodong)

Dual, in an interview with Sudan Tribune, described the threats as “nonsense”, amid claims that they allegedly control 90% of land in South Sudan.

“This is a pure invented lie from Kuol Manyang, Paul Malong and their master M-7 [Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni] who had also declared the same ultimatum to catch and crash down the chairman and commander in chief Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon within five (5) days and as a result, things fell apart,” said Dual.

The rebel official said their forces were still powerful and assured their supporters to threats issued by government would have no impact.

“My message to the people of South Sudan is that we the leaders of the SPLM-SPLA-IO have seen our people suffer in vain for four years and we are ready to bring peace in the young nation, but you need to know that Mr. Kuol Manyang has got no powers since I and my officers went to Juba with only a few troops (1,370) soldiers with light guns and counted ammunition yet we were not crashed,” said Dual.

“Who cares for this lie ultimatum?” he asked.

The rebel army chief also insisted that the Juba government had failed to implement the 2015 peace accord, further adding that the coalition government was simply buying time as the civilians suffer.

Dual, together with the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar fled the capital, Juba after an outbreak of violence in July last year saw hundreds killed and thousands displaced in United Nations camps.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and over a million South Sudanese, the UN said, are currently displaced in Uganda due to the war.