South Sudan: New VP Taban Deng Says ‘Disputed Peace deal’ is on Track, About to Integrate Army

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South Sudan’s new First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, said the unity government is speeding up the implementation of the peace accord and will soon commence the integration the rival armies.

Gai, whose appointment to viceroy is challenged by the armed opposition under Riek Machar said the process will start by disarming the civilians and later proceed to relocate the army to designated places from the population.

“We are going to collect all arms in hands of civilians so that they are only in the hands of the army, police and other security organs. We shall move the army from the population centers to their respective cantonment sites where they shall be retrained and under one command of chief of general of staff,” he said.

He retaliated that consolidation of peace for all South Sudan tops the agenda of the much government of national unity.

“We must go along with full implementation of the peace agreement. This peace is for all South Sudanese and it talks about reforms. Gai said while speaking to leaders of the Federal Democratic Movement, a section of military officers that broke away from the Riek Machar in July 2015.

The Federal Democratic Movement leaders, led by General Gathoth Gatkuoth, on Tuesday declared allegiance to the new SPLM-IO leader, Gai Sudan Tribune reported.

But the other armed opposition under Machar said the current government is built on breach of a peace deal signed in August 2015 and commenced in April 2016. Signs are clear, Machar is determined to fight the current regime.

However, he said he is on defensive against national forces as he waits a regional third party peacekeepers. But in the event that the region remains aloof on the situation, battle lines will have to be drawn.

Machar’s faction says president Salva Kiir conspired with Gai to plot against the rebel leader who had returned to Juba to implement the peace deal. Machar is on the run.

His spokesperson says the current government has since launched an offensive with armored vehicles and helicopter gunships to hunt him down in the nearby forest near the Capital Juba. Renewed fighting has been reported.

South Sudan army spokesperson Lul Ruai Koanga said the government has resolved to crush the armed forces loyal to embattled opposition leader, confirming the alleged offensive.

“Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) reiterates it’s resolve to crush SPLA IO warmongers under the leadership of power hungry former FVP Riek Machar. Machar’s bandits will have no where to hide,” Brigadier Lul Ruai Koang said.