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Machar Rebels Question Neutrality of IGAD

Members of South Sudan armed opposition faction (SPLA-IO) say they are disturbed by reports surrounding the activities of some members of the council of ministers for the regional bloc (IGAD) in relations to the high level revitalization forum [HLRF) process.

The SPLM-IO, in a statement, claimed a member of the IGAD council visited South Sudan in July last year and “made it clear that Dr Riek Machar will not participate in the HLRF process in Addis [Ababa].

“This came through when Dr Machar was sidelined during all these rounds of talks. This was meant to give time to the regime to try to wipe the SPLA-IO forces out and declare that the country is free and peaceful,” partly reads the statement the group issued on Tuesday.

The armed opposition faction also accused the IGAD council of ministers of holding consultations what sidelined its representatives.

“This idea came from the regime [in Juba] through the IGAD council of ministers,” they said, although Sudan Tribune could not verify this.

According to the rebel faction, it was the decision of the IGAD council of ministers to have their leader Machar relocated from South Africa to any country of his choice, if he denounces violence.

“The council of ministers always allows members of the [Juba] regime to its sittings regarding the situation in South Sudan yet the regime is the perpetrator of this current conflict,” further said the SPLM-IO, adding “How does a perpetrator become a mediator?”

The rebel group urged IGAD “to be serious about the peace talks”.

“We cannot continue condoning this ongoing atrocities and looting of South Sudan resources by the regime and their cliques,” they stressed in the statement and vowed that resistance will continue.

South Sudan’s civil war broke out in December 2013 after President Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup. Machar denied the accusation. A peace deal signed in August 2015., however, led to the formation of a coalition government but was again devastated by fresh violence that broke out in July last year.