Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SPLM-IO Officials Abroad Call for Machar’s "Unconditional" Release
Rebel leader Riek Machar shakes hands with South African president Jacob Zuma at the State House, Pretoria, South Africa, July 2, 2014 (ST)

June 27, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) representatives across Europe, America, South America and Africa have demanded the "immediate" and "unconditional" release of Riek Machar from his confinement in South Africa.

The SPLM-IO officials, in a written petition extended to Sudan Tribune, expressed disappointment over the "illegal detention" of the armed opposition leader.

“We, the SPLM-IO Missions, Chapters Leaders, and South Sudanese Diaspora across the globe strongly condemn the illegal detention of the SPLM/A-IO Chairman, Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, in South Africa and call for his unconditional immediate release,” partly reads the statement.

The Diaspora representatives, in the petition, described what they said was an attempt to have Machar killed in July last year, saying the incident showed the reality for the peace violations and blamed the leadership in South Sudan for having instigated the conflict.

“Surprisingly, upon surviving the assassination attempt in Juba and fleeing to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for safety, we were expecting a swift and strong response and the condemnation of the government of South Sudan from the region and the international community,” further reads the statement.

The officials said Machar’s detention in South Africa was “unproductive” and "illegal".

This is, however, the first ever call from the political wing of the armed opposition movement, which called for the inclusive and reinvigorated political process of reviewing the agreement of the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

As humanitarian situations remain at critical stages in South Sudan, the armed opposition believes that for an effective settlement to the conflict, there is need to open doors for humanitarian aid to intervene in areas heavily infected by violence.

The officials, in their petition, also urged the region and the international community to condemn President Salva Kiir and his government for abrogating the peace agreement and the alleged attempt to assassinate his peace partner, Machar.

They also demanded that an immediate action is taken from the East African regions, African Union, and the international communities to condemn countries that provide weapons to President Kiir and his government for "executing" innocent civilians.

“The countries selling arms to President Kiir and his government have to be publically identified and reprimanded. The country’s meagre oil resources are being traded for sophisticated weapons, which are then used to target the starving and dying citizens, rather than towards feeding and protecting them,” further noted the petition.

The SPLM-IO representatives also urged the United Nation Security Council to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan in order to limit the flow of weapons and ammunition that emboldens the regime to continue the war and target its opponents.


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