South Sudan rebel leader rejects presidential amnesty

September 8, 2017 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese rebel has rejected a presidential offer of amnesty, questioning the credibility of the order and describing it a strategy to delay suffering of the people.

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Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirino Swaka, the ex-SPLA deputy chief of general staff for training (youtube photo)

Thomas Cirilo, who switched side early this year and formed a separate rebel group operating on a parallel side to the main armed opposition faction of the SPLM-IO under the leadership of the former Frist Vice President Riek Machar told Sudan Tribune on Friday he learnt from the media the amnesty extended to him by the president.

“I did not have any discussion with anybody from the government before. I learned that they decided to extend me amnesty in the media. I don’t know in which context,” Cirilo said.

“Instead of me extending my amnesty, Salva Kiir should be the one to seek amnesty from the suffering people of South Sudan for all crimes he and his associates have committed before and the after the break out the war,” he added.

Cirilo said the unbearable human suffering in the country was a creation of Salva Kiir and his government. This situation, he adds, can never be settled just by granting amnesty to individuals.

Swaka, who now heads the National Salvation Front (NAS), quit the military, accusing its leadership of running the army on ethnic lines.

Last August, South Sudan released at least 30 political prisoners following an amnesty President Kiir had declared in May to facilitate the national dialogue initiative created to reconcile warring parties.