South Sudan IDPS reject dismissal of Riek Machar

Anyuak community leaders giving necktie gift to FVP Riek Machar, and bead gift to his wife, Angelina Teny, at their Jebel Kujur residence, Sunday, 12 June, 2016 (ST photo)

July 28, 2016 (JUBA) -Thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) across South Sudan at United Nations protection of civilians (PoCs) sites, have protested against the appointment of General Taban Deng Gai as first vice president to replace Riek Machar, saying the action is threatening the peace deal in the country signed in August last year.

Wiyual Machar Gany, chairman of the IDPs community living in the POCs at Jebel in Juba toldSudan Tribune on Wednesday that civilians in the UN camp are against the decision of president Kiir to illegally sack Machar and replaced him with Taban Deng Gai who “faked” a nomination in a hotel room.

He said such a decision will hamper the implementation of the peace agreement between Kiir and Machar and urged the government to withdraw the appointment of Taban Deng Gai and continue with the implementation of the agreement.

“We civilians at the UN camps have gone to the street today against the decision of president Kiir to replace Machar. We reject the nomination of Gen. Taban Deng and we see this as threats to the peace which was signed last year,” Gany said.

The group said they only recognize Riek Machar as the legitimate leader of the armed opposition faction who also inked the peace deal with president Kiir to end two years of violent conflict.

A similar demonstration witnessed in Malakal, Upper Nile state and Bentiu, Unity state at the United Nations protection sites with residents calling on world leaders to take immediate action before a “full-scale war” could erupt again between South Sudanese rivals forces.

The groups called on the international community to put pressure on both parties to restore peace in the country as per the provisions in the August 2015 peace agreement.

The demonstrators who were carrying placards and leaflets told UN officials that Taban Deng Gai was allegedly working to scrap the peace deal for his person benefits rather than ending the war.

Maruot Changath Payinjiar, a youth leader of Payinjiar county in Unity state, has condemned the appointment of Taban Deng to replace what he called the “legitimate first vice president Machar.”

He said the move is seen to be destroying the peace agreement, despite many signatures from both international and regional leaders.

Changath adding that Taban Deng Gai had already defected to President Kiir’s faction and had been removed from the party and should not have been appointed to represent the opposition faction.

The youth leader also claimed that the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has failed to protect civilians after several internal displaced persons were “mistreated and killed in front of them.”

“The youths condemn UNMISS for failure to protect the peace agreement even when they knew Machar was transported with few soldiers from Pagak as if they were in the conspiracy which almost cost Machar’s life. UNMISS also failed to protect the IDPs as many were killed in intentional firing by Salva Kiir’s soldiers,” he added.

Changath has urged the African Union (AU) to send in third forces to protect the peace agreement and called on them to condemn and dismiss Taban Deng Gai’s appointment by president Kiir.

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