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Machar's faction says did not go to Juba for war

Monday, 19th September 2016

September 18, 2016 (JUBA) – Officials of the armed opposition faction\r\n led by former First Vice President, Riek Machar, have dismissed as "not\r\n true claims by President Salva Kiir's government that the opposition \r\nleader returned to Juba in April to renew violence in a regime change \r\nstrategy.

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\r\nPresident\r\n Kiir last week accused the United Nations of allegedly working for a \r\nregime change and supporting Machar to carry it out. He also became \r\nbitter because the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) \r\nextracted Machar at the border and saved his life.

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He said when Machar could not succeed in the two years of war which \r\nstarted on 15 December 2013, he signed the peace agreement in August \r\nlast year in order to continue with the regime change agenda, including \r\nviolence from within.

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But Machar's officials said this was not true, arguing that the small\r\n number of forces they took to Juba clearly indicated that there was no \r\nplan to fight in Juba.

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"It is not true. We did not return to Juba in order to fight. How \r\ncould we plan to start another war inside Juba when he had only 1,300 \r\ntroops brought to the capital with light weapons while Salva Kiir and \r\nhis group had tens of thousands of troops in and around Juba with heavy \r\nweapons, tanks and helicopter gunships. The claim does not make any \r\nsense at all, said James Gatdet Dak, Machar's spokesman.

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Dak said their opposition faction of the Sudan People's Liberation \r\nArmy (SPLA-IO) would have insisted on bringing to Juba at least all \r\ntheir 2,910 troops allowed by the agreement, or would have even ensured \r\nthat they had not less than 10,000 troops, also with their heavy weapons\r\n transported to Juba before Machar returned, if they had planned for a \r\nfight in Juba.

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He said it was instead President Kiir and his group who had the plan \r\nto lure Machar to Juba in order to kill him and scrap the peace deal.

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"The United Nations report is very clear, it is Salva Kiir and Malong\r\n Awan who ordered the recent violence in July in Juba. The UN panel \r\ninvestigated it and clearly held Kiir and his group responsible, he \r\nsaid.

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The opposition leader's spokesman further added that "President Kiir \r\nand his group were responsible for all the messes in the country, \r\n"whether it is assassination attempts against Dr. Riek Machar on 15 \r\nDecember, 2013, or on 8 July, 2016 violence in Juba as confirmed by the \r\nUN, or corruption as also confirmed in the recent report by The Sentry \r\norganization based in the United States.

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Machar and his faction, he added, accepted to return to Juba in April\r\n despite the improper security arrangements because he thought that Kiir\r\n had changed from his violent behavior after the two years of war.

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He however said the opposition group will not give President Kiir \r\nanother third chance to attempt to lure in and murder Machar in Juba.

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"The violent situation in Juba has to change first,Ħħ he said.

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