November 17, 2017 (JUBA) – The SPLM-In Opposition led by the former First Vice President Riek Machar Friday denounced the recent SPLM reunification agreement signed in Cairo and called to end the confinement of its leader in South Africa.
- Machar speaks on a mobile phone after an interview with Reuters in Kenya’s capital Nairobi July 8, 2015
Based on Arusha deal of 2015 for the reunification of historical SPLM to serve as vector to end the four year conflict, the faction of Former Political Detainees (FDs) has finally accepted to join the two ruling factions led by President Salva Kiir and his First Deputy Taban Deng without Machar in a ceremony organized in Cairo on Thursday 16 November, 2017.
“The Cairo Declaration that was signed by fragmented factions of South Sudan’s SPLM party will not bring peace without the release, return and full participation of SPLA/M IO Chairman and Commander In Chief Dr Riek Machar Teny,” said Lt. Gen. Wesley Welebe Samson, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Training who is operating in the Equatoria region.
He further called on the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to secure Machar’s release “from illegal detention in South Africa” and then allow him to fully participate in IGAD High-level Revitalization Forum and SPLM Reunification meetings.
Speaking after his return from Egypt where he participated in the Cairo process, Nhial Deng Nhial, Senior Presidential Adviser and Special Envoy told reporters in Juba that the new deal does not recognize Machar as the leader of the SPLM-IO faction. However, he can join the IGAD-led revitalization process.
Last June, Machar declined to attend Kampala meetings and take part in the reunification process urging to release him first. However, Juba refused his participation in person in the process saying his group can be represented by other delegates.
The regional leaders also fear that his return in the eastern African region may exacerbate the fighting in the troubled country.
However, Gen. Samson accused the South Sudanese President of preparing for war and appealed Presidents al-Sisi and Museveni to convince Kiir to desist from war and declare a genuine ceasefire focus on a peaceful resolution of the conflict in South Sudan.
“As I write now, President Salva Kiir is busy planning for dry season offensive in South Sudan,” he said before to accuse the Amadi State Governor Col. Joseph Ngere Paciko, of ordering the army to attack the rebel-controlled areas “together with civilians who are living” there.