SPLM-IO want Machar accompanied to Juba by 12,000 soldiers : sources

Members of the SPLM/A-In Opposition (IO) forces allied with South Sudan's former rebel leader Riek Machar parade outside capital Juba, April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jok Solomun

Members of the SPLM/A-In Opposition (IO) forces allied with South Sudan’s former rebel leader Riek Machar parade outside capital Juba, April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jok Solomun

August 8th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition movement, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) would never accept going to Juba with a force less than 12,000 thousands soldiers, sources told the Nyamilepedia today.

South Sudan government on Sunday signed the long awaited peace deal with the many opposition groups fighting it including Machar’s SPLM-IO.

The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) and the SPLM Former Detainees also signed the agreement despite having been vocal early to what they referred to as unjust peace because it do not addressed their concerns which are mostly represented by the number of states.

Speaking to the Nyamilepedia on Wednesday, a high level SPLM-IO official said their Chairman, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, must be accompanied by a number of 12,000 men as his protection and that the group will never accept going to the capital city with less than that number.

“Machar must go to Juba with a force that is 12,000 strength. He must take that number with him to Juba and we will not accept something that is less,” the official told the Nyamilepedia on the condition of anonymity.

The official pointed out that the mentioned force must first be in place in Juba before Machar could go to Juba to take up his position as the country’s First Vice President so as to avoid “mistakes of the past” referring to the July 2016 incident in which Machar had to go to Juba as part of a pressure by the international community to implement the agreement although only 1370 of his forces arrive in Juba and the government did not demilitarize the town.

In July 2016, Machar’s 1370 force was outnumbered by hundreds of thousands of government troops in Juba and were dislodged from the capital after almost a week of fighting.