South Sudan’s main opposition opts out of security talks …due to attacks

South Sudan’s main opposition party led by First Vice President, Riek Machar, opted out of ongoing talks on Tuesday over the security arrangements, citing what he termed “unprovoked attacks” from troops loyal to President Salva Kiir.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) said it will not be taking part any longer in the various security mechanisms under the 2018 revitalised peace deal and meetings mediated by the Revitalised Joint Monitoring Evaluation Mechanism (RJMEC). 

“We, therefore, see no point in participating in non-productive meetings where issues are raised but not resolved, as such we are stopping participating in RJMEC meetings from today until the above issues are addressed,”  Gabriel Duop Lam, acting Chief of General Staff, SPLA-IO, said in a statement issued in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

The SPLA-IO also noted that it had been engaged in fights with its splinter faction now under Simon Gatwech Dual, adding that it was propped up by the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF). 

The SPLM/A-IO under Vice President Machar’s former chief of staff, Dual, broke away from the mainstream SPLM/A-IO in August 2021, leading to fiery clashes between soldiers from both sides. 

“We see no logical reason to participate in meetings when our areas are under attack from our peace partner without action from those (RJMEC) mandated to hold them accountable for their actions,” it said. 

It added that SPLA-IO senior officers under Vice President Machar will not be attending meetings of the vital security mechanisms such as strategic defense and security review (SDSR), joint transitional security committee (JTSC), joint military ceasefire commission (JMCC) and the joint defense board (JDB). 

SPLA-IO disclosed that its soldiers have on several occasions been attacked in cantonment sites and the unified forces training centres. -Xinhua

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