South Sudan: NAS Rebel Group Denies Gen. Buay’s Claims on Nairobi Peace Talks

The National Salvation Front (NAS) has issued a statement refuting remarks made by Gen. Stephen Buay Rolnyang, leader of the South Sudan People’s Movement, during an interview with South Sudanese local radio station, Radio Tamazuj in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 10, 2024.

Gen. Buay claimed that he was in contact with NAS Chairman and Commander-in-Chief Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka to convince him to join the Nairobi Peace Initiative.

NAS leadership clarified the situation, stating the following points: “There has never been any communication or contact between Gen. Stephen Buay Rolnyang and NAS leadership regarding the Tumaini Peace Initiative. Therefore, Gen. Buay’s remarks are false and misleading to the public,” the statement clarified.

It further stated that, “NAS condemns Gen. Stephen Buay’s misrepresentation in the strongest terms. The leadership considers his remarks unfortunate, especially since they come from a fellow opposition leader who is regarded as a partner in the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.”

The press statement signed by National Salvation Front Spokesperson, Samuel Manase added, “NAS assures its members of its unwavering commitment to the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) position on the Nairobi Peace Initiative, as communicated by SSOMA Secretary Amb. Emmanuel Ajawin on May 9, 2024.”

“NAS calls on its members, supporters, and sympathizers to remain calm and resolute, urging them not to be distracted by unsubstantiated information. Any unofficial or unstructured utterances should be treated as mere passing clouds,” NAS stated.

Peace talks between the South Sudan government and some holdout groups were launched in Kenya on May 9, with African presidents calling for an end to a conflict that has crippled the country’s economy for several years.

The mediation is led by former Kenya army commander Lazurus Sumbeiywo, who also mediated the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 which gave Southern Sudan autonomy and later led to a referendum for independence in 2011.

In December 2023, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir requested his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto to take over the mediation from the Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome, complaining that the talks had taken long in Rome’s hands without resolution. 

Koch Madut