The SPLA IO welcomes the call for sanctions by the head of JMEC on violations of the CoH Agreement signed on 21/12/2017. This shows commitment from JMEC and we hope H.E Mogae means business this time round. However, there should be proper investigation and fairness to identify those responsible.
Secondly the one sided press release of IGAD Council of Ministers dated 25/01/2017, shows complete partiality and confusion of the highest order.
- The press release only single out the SPLA IO to blame for 24/12/2017 Koch County clash between the youth affiliated to the SPLA IO and the regime’s forces which is completely unacceptable. This is what happened; On 22/12/2017, The force from regime based in Koch centre had first moved out and launched a one-day-walk raid on the residences of Lang-Biel Payam in Magiandit County which is already a provocation. On 23/12/2017, the armed youth of that payam followed them up to Koch where they fought on the 24 Dec,2017 morning in order to recover their raided cattle from the regime forces. The IGAD should explain to the world whether the civilians in the SPLA IO controlled are less important than civilians in the government controlled areas. The CoH provides for protection of Civilians and so, the youth in the SPLA IO controlled areas have the right to protect their lives and properties.
- The government has violated CoH in Bieh State due to the movement of Taban Deng Gai; why has IGAD not criticized this strongly and hold Taban Deng Gai personally responsible for the attacks he intentionally ordered after the CoH was signed. This is real impunity.
- The press also mentioned the SPLA IO Taban Deng Gai as a separate entity from the SPLA IG. Can IGAD mention where this is written in the COH Agreement signed on 21/12/2017 and who sign on his behalf? IGAD should avoid playing with the lives of the suffering citizens of South Sudan by causing confusion to prolong and/or jeopardize the peace process in favour of the regime in Juba.
Thirdly, the CoH requests all POWs and political detainees to be released by the 07/01/2018; the SPLA IO has started implementing this but the regime in Juba and the IGAD have not yet shown any sign of compliance to this article. The SPLA IO request IGAD to be impartial in this peace process and avoid putting individual interest above the much needed peace in South Sudan.
On a separate note, the SPLM/A IO came to understand that the UNMISS team that was supposed to have traveled to Pogee from Torit for assessment by 25/01/2018 was stopped by the regime. Furthermore, yesterday 26/01/2018, some civilians were abducted from the POC in Juba by the regime’s security with the help of UNMISS; the whereabouts of these civilians are not known up to now.
The SPLM/A IO calls upon the UNMISS to protect civilians instead of taking orders from the regime in Juba. Greater good doesn’t mean complying to government demands when it comes to ethnic targeting of civilians. The resistance continues.
Col Lam Paul Gabriel
SPLA IO Deputy Militarily Spokesperson