SPLM-IO denies spearheading planned mass protests

SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar speaking to displaced South Sudanese people in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on September 18, 2015 (Credit: ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)

May 11th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) –  The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by South Sudan’s former First Vice-President, Dr. Riek Machar, on Saturday denied that it is spearheading calls for protests on May 16.

Youth groups in South Sudan are calling for nation-wide protests  on May 16 against the government of President Salva Kiir in a bid to try to remove him from power and some government officials have accused the SPLM-IO of spearheading the protests.

However, in an exclusive interview with the Nyamilepedia on Saturday, the SPLM-IO Director of Information and Public Relations, Puok Both Baluang, said the main armed opposition group is neither a part nor support the planned protest.

“The SPLM/A-IO is here by distancing itself from the demonstrations due to take place on 16 May. It has no intention to stage any protest or support that,” Both said from the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

“As parties, the SPLM-IO, the government and other partners in the R-ARCSS should take this protest in the sense that we have to implement the agreement in letter and spirit,” Both added.

He said that the protesters might be trying to express their discontent with the parties and the government in particular for not doing what it need to do so that there is an assurance that peace is being implemented and stability is being made.

“In my personal opinion, one of the reasons why they want to stage these protests is because they have not seen any changes on the ground or any progress being made by the parties to assure them that peace is being implemented in serious terms by the parties,” he said.

The opposition official further said the protests should serve as a wake-up call that the parties to the agreement need to speed up their efforts to implement that agreement so the public is assured about peace implementation.

“So, the protests should serve as wake-up calls as partners that we need to implement the peace agreement, but the SPLM-IO is here by assuring the general public that it is not a part of the ongoing protest and we are still committed to the implementation of the peace agreement,” he added.

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