Opposition group rubbish reports its leader, Bakasoro, joined Cirilo

Former Western Equatoria governor and SSNMC leader, Joseph Bangasi Bakasoro (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

February 24th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – A South Sudan opposition group has denied reports that its Chairman has defected and joined the holdout opposition National Salvation Front (NAS) led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka.

Last week, social media reports alleged that the leader of the South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) Joseph Bangasi Bakasoro has defected and left the implementation of the peace agreement to join the rebel group led by Cirilo.

The SSNMC is a member of the opposition umbrella, South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) led by Gabriel Changson Lew Chang.

The SSOA is a signatory to the revitalized peace agreement signed last year by President Salva Kiir and a number of opposition groups including the SPLM-IO led by the First Vice President designate Dr. Riek Machar.

“This statement is not true. Mr. Bakosoro is not and will not quit the implementation of R-ARCSS. He has not and will not joined NAS,” said a statement issued on Tuesday by the SSNMC spokesman, Daniel Zingifuaboro.

The statement further dismissed reports that Bakosoro had accused President Kiir of being anti-peace and that he has left the country for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa en-route to join NAS saying he has been in Juba since he came to the capital in January.

“[Reports] that ‘Joseph Bakosoro accuses President Kiir Mayardit of practicing tribalism and that the government in Juba is a well-organized tribal group’. This information does not reflect the opinion of Mr. Bakosoro nor the SSNMC. It, however, does reflect the opinion of the anonymous author, the very person or organisation that sanctioned the information,” the statement said.

“Mr. Bakosoro traveled to Juba the last week of January until today he is in Juba because SSNMC believe that peaceful resolution of the crisis in South Sudan is the only viable solution,” he added.

He further added that such “False information like these are not just distortions but cheap and malicious propaganda to blemish Mr. Bakosoro. The anonymous author is a sociopathic liar and such information must never be considered authentic and trustworthy.”