South Sudan rebel officials say sidelining Machar is deceptive, won’t solve crisis—vow to fight on

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Top officials from South Sudan armed opposition under exiled leader Riek Machar vowed to carry on with the war to its bitter end until an inclusive political solution is found for the country.

Kuong Dak a senior official in the SPLA-IO and former Water and irrigation Minister also son of the late bush war hero John Garanga, Mabior Garang de Mabior said the attempt by President Salva Kiir and the region to exclude Machar in the peace and political stability of South Sudan is deceptive and will prolong the fighting.

Dak said Kiir’s regime has diplomatically misled regional governments and the international community in believing that Machar is the problem and blacklisting him will put an end to the crisis.

“There is a wrong perception with some of the regional leaders who are being misled by the government of Salva Kiir and political rhetoric from individual officials in some countries in the west. They believe chairman, Riek Machar is the problem. This is wrong perception,” he said.

Garanga noted that theirs is an ideological resistance against a tribal regime which “instituted de facto policies detrimental to the very community they purport to rule in name of”

Dak said their leader Machar is “just a leader championing the cause of the people and even if he surrenders, the cause will never vanish. It can never be wished away like some people would like to believe”.

He added therefore that regional efforts to exclude Machar from the political process will never bring the much needed peace and stability in the young nation.

“There are leaders in the region who believes that the exclusion of Dr. Riek will stop the war. This is a wrong analysis of the complex situation in South Sudan. The war will stop if there is a radical solution to the problem”, the official said on Wednesday.

Mabior added that “Even if we are all kidnapped or killed, it will not solve the root cause of the problem and rebellion will continue. The only way to stop the rebellion is to abandon a military solution and resume dialogue with us”.

A peace deal signed in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in August 2015 to bring an end to the 20 months of a civil war started in December 2013 was broken in July 2016 when forces loyal to the country’s president and rebel leader Machar clashed in the capital Juba.

The fighting left hundreds dead and other hundreds of thousands displaced. Machar was forced to flee Juba after his residence was bombed by government forces and has since declared a resistance against the regime from his hideout in Khartoum and later South Africa.

Fighting is currently spread out across the country, worsening the humanitarian situation. Analysts have feared for a looming genocide following targeted attacks between the Dinka tribe from where most government forces and president Kiir hails and the Nuer of opposition leader Riek Machar.