Monday, July 11, 2016

SPLM-IO Denies Planning Coup d’état in Juba
A batch of the SPLA-IO forces after arrival in Juba, 1 April, 2016

July 11, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese armed opposition group (SPLM-IO) has denied accusations that they planned a coup d’état on Monday against President Salva Kiir, saying such statements could fuel the ongoing crisis in the East African nation.

Professor Eric Reeves, a prominent writer on Sudan and South Sudan, released a Tweet on Sunday, 10 July, 2016, predicting that there was going to be a military coup on Monday, 11 July 2016, in Juba, to allegedly be led by first-vice president, Riek Machar.

“A highly reliable source—currently in the region and with extensive experience in South Sudan over many years—reports from Addis Ababa this evening that a coup in Juba is being led by Riek Machar, First Vice-President of the Government of South Sudan. The military side of the campaign is being led by Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) Commander James Koang Chuol, who has today [Sunday] been communicating with Peter Gadet, another SPLA commander, with a notorious record for brutality (as well as changing sides in the midst of conflict),” said Professor Reeves in his tweeted statement.

The office of the First Vice President, in response, said they were not surprised by the "bias statements" from Reeves, adding that he used to support the SPLM faction of Salva Kiir.

“It is not surprising that the professor wrote such a bias statement,” said James Gatdet Dak, opposition leader’s press secretary.

Dak said Reeves should have known that clear cause of the ongoing fighting in Juba, instead of calling it a coup by the armed opposition leader against President Kiir.

“For sure he is one of the prophets of doom who can guess and write things tens of thousands of miles away from South Sudan and try to predict what will happen in the next morning. It is very unfortunate,” he said.

The spokesperson of Machar said if Reeves was not that partial, he would have known that what has been happening were clashes between rival forces and not a coup as alleged.

Reeves, a senior fellow at Harvard University’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, has written extensively on the two Sudans for almost two decades.


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