SPLM-IO urges government to cease using 1991 split to incite violence

South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar addresses a news conference in his office in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri – RTX1QF4B

February 20th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The main armed opposition group led by the country’s former First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, urged on Tuesday, the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardiit to stop using the SPLM 1991 split to incite violence and perpetuate war.

In August 1991, SPLM leaders in the person of Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. Lam Akol and Gen. Gordon Koang Chuol announced in the Upper Nile town of Nasir the ouster of Dr. John Garang, then leader of the rebel SPLM/A movement.

The three men accused Garang of dictatorial tendencies and said they will fight for South Sudan’s independence: something Garang who had introduced the New Sudan do not want to be the agenda of the war.

The 1991 Nasir declaration which fractured the SPLM/A into two factions (the Nasir faction and the Torit) led to a rebel infighting that also included inter-communal fighting between tribal militias allied to both sides igniting civilian massacres.

“The problem is also not “1991”, as inter-communal violence in our country predates the catastrophic events of 1991. It is a legacy of the slave trade, which created the traditional elite in our country,” said a statement signed by Mabior Garang de’Mabior who is the SPLM-IO spokesman and the group’s Chairperson of the National Committee for Information and Public Relations.

The statement called on the government of President Salva Kiir to decease from using the 1991 narrative to portray Machar as a violent reason to the ongoing conflict so as to divert the attention of the people of South Sudan from the main perpetrator thereby inciting violence.

“The historical fact surrounding the events of 1991, must be separated from its use by the regime as a political mythology, used to arouse negative tribal sentiments in our naïve population, so as to divide us against one another, thereby maintaining the status quo,” it said.

“If the regime really cared about the victims of 1991 and of inter-communal violence in our country in general, they would have created a Ministry or Commission that can deal with the damage caused by this kind of violence. The use of “1991” as a political tool to divide our people, can only cause more suffering and create new victims, on top of the many victims we currently have,” the statement added.