South Sudan opposition faction, SPLM/A-IO says the country’s President Salva Kiir doesn’t have the capacity to protect their leader Riek Machar and other opposition officials in the unity government as he claims.
The president had earlier called on the opposition leader and officials to return to Juba for talks to spearhead the implementation of the peace deal saying Juba was calm after the ceasefire order.
However, SPLM-IO spokesperson James Gatdet told local media that the president is a political shadow and has no control over the army that is ‘terrorizing’ the opposition.
“President Kiir is not in control of incidents that occur around him. He is not in control of his army commanders and other organized forces. So how do you trust protection from a leader who is not in control, or who might have been blessing violent actions of his commanders or security personnel?” Gatdet wondered
“We don’t trust President Salva Kiir and his assurances to provide protection to our leadership,” James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune.
He said the attack, assault and brief detention of the opposition minister and SPLM-IO secretary general Dhieu Mathok by forces loyal to the president clearly signals threats on political opposition which Kiir cannot control.
Riek Machar has received information that President Kiir’s army had ordered their warplanes, helicopter gunships, to search for his whereabouts and bomb him and his forces, but still this was beyond Kiir’s knowledge according to Gatdet.
Following the clashes, there was an attack on Machar’s residence in Juba, which saw his house bombed by forces loyal to President Kiir. Gatdet said the president has publicly denied knowledge of many incidences perpetuated by his army.
“For instance, President Kiir’s military intelligence and national security personnel killed our officer, Lt. Colonel George Alex Gismala, and took his body to their military barrack, but the President said he didn’t know who did it,” he said
“Our soldiers were fired at, resulting to the initial clash that saw the death of five of his soldiers on Gudele road on Thursday, July 7. He [Kiir] also said he didn’t know how it happened. On Friday, July 8, he called the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, for a meeting in his palace and suddenly his bodyguards teamed up with hundreds of his soldiers and began to shoot at Dr. Machar’s bodyguards and the clashes ensued. He also said he didn’t know about how it started,” Datdet said.
He said that had Machar not remained in statehouse on the day the clashes broke out, he would have been killed by SPLA forces without the president’s control. The president in any way did not protect Machar as he claims.
“President Kiir did not protect First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar. They happened to get stuck with each other inside the palace. Either of them did not want to leave the palace as the fighting was going on outside the palace,” he said.
He also said the bodyguards of the two leaders took a wise decision by not echoing the fighting inside the palace because each side knew that their leader was going to be targeted and risked getting killed.
“They got stuck inside the palace until a third party was involved in arranging and ensuring how the leaders were escorted to their respective residences at night,” Gadget said adding that “President Kiir was also ensuring his own safety by being near to Dr. Riek Machar in the palace.”
Gatdet Retariated claims that the only solution was demilitarization and deployment of a third-force to rpvide security for the opposition before any the government of National Unity can get back to implementation of the peace deal.
Credit: Sudan Tribune