SPLM/A-IO Has Not Declared war

 

Press Release,SPLM

October 14, 2016(Nyamilepedia) ——  The SPLM/SPLA(IO) is alarmed by the sensational media headlines alleging that the SPLM/SPLA(IO) has declared war. The SPLM/SPLA(IO) refutes these allegations as part of a negative propaganda campaign by the regime in Juba. This is all part of a sustained counterinsurgency strategy by the regime, aimed at portraying the SPLM/SPLA(IO) as a terrorist organization, when it is in fact the government that is using political violence to stifle dissent. In light of this rhetoric being repeated by senior Diplomats and Statesmen; the SPLM/SPLA(IO) makes the following clarifications:

On The Alleged Declaration of War:

The SPLM/SPLA(IO) contention is: that war was imposed on the people of South Sudan on the 8th of July, 2016, by the events following the attacks on the Presidential Palace and later the SPLA(IO) cantonment sites in Juba; including the residence of the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny-dhuorgon, which sustained attack from helicopters, armored vehicles and ground troops. These events which led to the collapse of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) are clearly described in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Report titled: Letter dated 19 September 2016 from the Panel of Experts on South Sudan established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2206 (2015) addressed to the President of the Security Council:

  1. Paragraph 9: “First, the relatively large scale of the hostilities, which featured the deployment of Mi-24 attack helicopters, in coordination with ground forces and reinforced by armored units, support the conclusion that the fighting was directed by the highest levels of the SPLA command structure. Many senior SPLA officers have confirmed to the Panel that only Salva Kiir and the Chief of General Staff of the SPLA, Paul Malong, have the authority to order the deployment of those helicopters, and the Panel has received numerous reports from senior SPLA personnel and South Sudanese political figures citing Malong, with Kiir’s full knowledge, as having directed the fighting on 10 and 11 July”;
  2. Paragraph 10: “Second, not all SPLA units in Juba participated in the fighting. The Panel received credible reports from several senior SPLA officers that some units had refused orders issued by Malong to engage in fighting”;
  3. Paragraph 11: “Third, witnesses in Juba pointed to an evident ethnic dimension to the fighting and some ethnically motivated killings, with SPLA and security forces from Dinka tribe more heavily involved in the events than other groups. Numerous reports indicate that Equatorian militias became engaged in the fighting in Juba on the side of SPLM/A in Opposition”;
  4. Paragraph 25: “The Panel has received numerous reports from sources in government SPLA, SPLM/A in Opposition, Member States and the United Nations of arms transfers into South Sudan since the formation of the TGNU in April 2016. Investigations to establish the origins of the shipments and their use in South Sudan are under way. As at mid-August 2016, the Panel had found no evidence of significant arms procurement by SPLM/A in Opposition. The Panel had, however, received numerous reports significant continuing arms procurement by SPLM/A in Government, which are detailed below”;
  5. Paragraph 26: “On 7 July, the SPLA spokesperson, Lual Ruai Koang, announced that ‘two L-39 Jet Fighters from SPLA Air Force will conduct air shows’ over Juba. When fighting broke out in the city the next day, there were numerous reports on social media of jets being sighted, although there were no reports of their direct involvement in the fighting. Subsequently, the Panel received a report that at least one jet was observed at Malakal airport on 16 August, together with two Mi-24 helicopters, and that the aircraft conducted combat operations against SPLM/A in Opposition in Nassir the same day. The photograph in annex IV proves the presence of an L-39 jet at Malakal airport on 31 August”;
  6. Paragraph 27: “The jets have not previously been reported to be operating in South Sudan and are, therefore, probably a recent acquisition by SPLA. While the Panel has received preliminary reports from two sources that the jets were serviced and painted in Uganda, it has not yet been able to confirm their origin or whether they have been purchased or are on loan”;
  7. Paragraph 29: “In June 2016, the Panel received information from a high-ranking SPLA source that two truckloads of ammunition had been transferred overland from Uganda to Juba via Nimule on or about 11 June. The report as confirmed to the Panel by the representative of an IGAD Member State in Juba. Another high-ranking SPLA source told the Panel that the shipment had contained small arms ammunition and been procured in advance of an expected, unspecified operation; The Panel presented the information to the Minister of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs, Kuol Manyang, and the SPLA Chief of General Staff, Paul Malong, on 23 June, but neither of them provided a substantive response”;
  8. Paragraph 30: “Media reports in July indicated that the Spanish police had arrested a number of individuals in connection with a long-running European Police Office investigation into a European arms smuggling network, South Sudan was noted as being among the countries involved in procuring arms through this network. The Panel has corresponded with the relevant authorities and is awaiting further information as the investigation proceeds”;

On Tribalization of the Conflict:

  1. Paragraph 13: “The violence in Juba in July recalled the patterns of ethnic targeting in the capital and elsewhere when the war broke out in December 2013, as documented by the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan. The situation is also symptomatic of the tribal dynamic engulfing the country as the war has evolved into a violent contest between elements of the Dinka tribe and many of the country’s other tribes. There has been a consequent rise in perception among Dinka political and military elites, including Salva Kiir and Paul Malong, that their people are being unfairly targeted and threatened, which is fueling a cycle of mutual resentment and revenge”;
  2. Paragraph 14: “Several of Salva Kiir’s recent appointments to the transitional government have further inflamed these tensions. On 23 July 2016, he replaced Riek Machar as First Vice-President with Taban Deng Gai, an ethnic Nuer from Unity state. The breadth of Deng Gai’s political and military constituency outside his home area of Guit is questionable and, as a result of his previous tenure as governor of Unity state, he is deeply unpopular among many Nuer. On 29 August, 14 paramount chiefs representing Nuer in Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states issued a statement in which they condemned the appointment. The Bul, a Nuer subclan that had been allied with SPLM/A in Government, are also enraged by the appointment and may defect to the apposition”;
  3. Paragraph 15: “Salva Kiir’s appointment of Stephen Dhieu Dau as Minister of Finance and Economic Planning on 28 July is another example of inflammatory appointments. As the Panel documented in its report of January 2016, Dhieu Dau was involved in arming the Dinka Padang militia in Upper Nile state using funds from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining when he served as Minister, exacerbating violence between the Dinka, the Shilluk and the Nuer in Upper Nile state (S/2016/70, para. 56). The Panel subsequently obtained further documentary evidence proving that, as Minister of Petroleum and Mining, Dhieu Dau directed the national oil company, Nilepet, to cover military-related expenses, circumventing national budget and financial management processes. Shilluk militias allied to SPLM/A in Opposition are using these developments to mobilize young people in western Upper Nile state in advance of an anticipated return to fighting in the coming months”;

On The Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders (JCE):

  1. Paragraph 18: “The most prominent tribal organization to mobilize opposition to the Agreement is self-appointed body of Dinka politicians calling itself the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders, which is led by a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ambrose Riiny Thiik. The Vice-Chair is Joshua Dau Diu. Salva Kiir meets the group’s leaders regularly. Shortly after IGAD circulated the proposed peace agreement in July 2015, the Jieng Council declared its opposition, claiming in a written statement that it represents a ‘glaring appeasement of hell-bent coup plotters’ and was ‘tailor made for Riek Machar and his followers and so this alone is sufficient to warrant opposition to the tenets of the whole agreement … We are now convinced that the IGAD-led mediation has failed; we advise the parties to seek alternative mechanisms’…”;
  2. Paragraph 19: “Many of the Jieng Council’s specific objections to the proposed agreement including to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, foreshadowed the 16 reservations issued by Salva Kiir’s government when he signed the Agreement in August 2015 and which the Jieng Council claimed credit for drafting. The Jieng Council has since been the source of several initiatives to undermine the Agreement, including writing an initial version of Kiir’s decree of 2 October 2015 to increase the number of states in South Sudan from 10 to 28, which the IGAD Council of Ministers subsequently determined was “inconsistent” with the terms of the Agreement”;

On Peace and the Way forward:

The SPLM/SPLA(IO) is committed to a political settlement as the only way to resolve the conflict in South Sudan and advocates for resuscitation of the ARCISS. The Resolutions of the SPLM/SPLA(IO) Political Bureau Meeting, September 20-23, 2016, Khartoum, Sudan (Part C. Foreign Policy – 2) reflect this commitment as we: … “Commend and support the implementation of the following documents of the Regional, Continental and International Bodies”; these documents are acknowledged in the Resolutions:

  1. Communique of the 56 Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers on the Situation in South Sudan of 11 July, 2016 Nairobi, Kenya;
  2. The outcome of the “Visit of the Chiefs of Defense of IGAD to Juba 14/7/2016”;
  3. Communique of the Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Plus on the situation in South Sudan of 16/7/2016, Kigali, Rwanda;
  4. Communique of the Second IGAD Plus Extraordinary Summit on the Situation in the Republic of South Sudan of 5/8/2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;
  5. Communique of AU Peace Security Council (PSC) 616th Meeting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 11/08/2016; and
  6. UN Security Council Resolution No.2304 (2016) of 12/08/2016

Conclusion

The SPLM/SPLA(IO) has negotiated with the regime in Juba in good faith, signed the agreement in good faith and went to Juba to implement the agreement in good faith; despite the protracted lack of political will demonstrated by the other warring party throughout the peace process. The SPLM/SPLA(IO) went to Juba despite the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM), of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) not having verified the demilitarization of Juba and redeployment of troops 25 Km out of the town (according to Chapter II. Article 5.1 of ARCISS). The SPLM/SPLA went to Juba outnumbered and outgunned, in violation of the provisions of the Agreement. The regime in Juba frustrated the arrival of the 2’910 force that would have constituted the component of the SPLM/SPLA(IO) Joint forces charged with the security of Juba; only 1’500 came to Juba. This was a blatant violation of the Security Arrangements of the Agreement (according to Chapter II. Article 5.1.1, 5.1.2 and 5.1.3).

The SPLM/SPLA (IO) is fully committed to a political settlement as the only way to resolve the conflict in the country. However, in light of the serious lack of political will, culminating on July 8, 2016 with the clashes at the Presidential Palace in Juba and the subsequent attacks on the SPLM/SPLA(IO) cantonment areas; the attack on the residence of the First Vice President and his pursuit all the way to the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and in light of the strategy of appeasement demonstrated by JMEC (who are responsible for monitoring and overseeing the Agreement); the SPLM/SPLA(IO) is left with no recourse but to reorganize the Movement in order to confront the continuous belligerence of the regime; this is a natural right.

“The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression” as stated in the 2nd Article of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.

Signed:

Mabior Garang Signature

CDE MABIOR GARANG MABIOR (CHAIRMAN)

SPLM NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR INFORMATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS

NAIROBI, KENYA

+254 717 293 583 (Mabior Garang)

+254 701 326 749 (Puok Both – Director of Information and Public Relations)

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