October 31st 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – A senior SPLM-IO official has disregarded and rubbished what he said are “fake news” that Machar was moving to yet another asylum in Ethiopia.
On Wednesday, a copy of a Ethiopian passport purportedly belonging to Machar was circulated on social media with an accompanying text alleging the powerful opposition leader had been granted an asylum by Ethiopian authorites.
Had it been true, it would be a renewal of what the main armed opposition group said is an “unlawful” detention Machar has been subjected to since 2016 in Pretoria and Khartoum.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Puok Both Baluang, the SPLM-IO director of information and public relations denied Machar was moving to another asylum saying the “fake news” were being circulated by anti-peace elements.
“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) would like to categorically refute the malicious propaganda and fake news that [was] created and circulated by anti-SPLM (IO) and anti-peace elements,” the statement Baluang extended to Nyamilepedia partly reads.
“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) would like to assure members, the people of South Sudan and the public at large, that this is mere propaganda and wishful thinking,” he added.
While admitting that the passport being circulated on social media in fact belongs to Machar, Baluang said the main armed opposition leader has not applied for or been given any asylum by any country.
“H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) has not been given asylum by any country. Dr. Machar is still in the Sudanese capital Khartoum where he was unjustly placed under house confinement by the IGAD since he was transferred from Pretoria, South Africa on June 24, 2019,” he said.
He said the passport was issued to Machar by the Ethiopian authorities to facilitate his movement as demanded by the ongoing peace process Machar has been intensively involved since 2018.
“The Ethiopian passport picture with the name of H.E. Dr. Riek Machar, which was used maliciously by the enemy of peace, was issued to him by the Ethiopian Government to ease him for the quest for peace, while visiting Addis Ababa on the invitation of H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to convene the first face-to-face meeting between him and President Salva Kiir Mayardit in June 2018,” the official added.
The opposition official further warned members “to be vigilant and should not succumb to this malicious propaganda and fake news by our partners in peace, which intended to create division in your glorious Movement.”