BENTITU, 30 December 2020 – A senior South Sudanese police commander has resigned and announced he is joining the main armed opposition group, the SPLM, of ex-vice-president Rick Machar Teny.
In a statement, Machar accused the government of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit of lacking the political will to implement the revitalized peace agreement signed by Kiir and Machar in 2018.
This is the second high-profile defection from the Salva Kiir governing alliance in favor of the armed opposition.
Last December 25, Brigadier General Samuel Machuol Nguen cited the same reasons as Machar in announcing his resignation, according to the Sudan Post whose reporters have seen the statement.
Eight days ago, the heads of state and governments of the Inter-Governmental Agency for Development (IGAD), the sub-regional bloc, called on all South Sudanese to give peace a chance.
From its headquarters in Djibouti City, Djibouti, IGAD officials urged on South Sudanese who truly support peace to cease and desist from organizing or announcing defections.
These announcements of defections only hamper implementation of the same peace agreement whose successful implementation those announcing defections profess to be supporting.
Pope Francis is among those who has tried to reconcile the warring brothers of South Sudan.
“I am asking you as a brother to stay in peace. I am asking you tight my heart, let us go forward. There will be many problems but they will not overcome us. Resolve your problems,” Pope Francis told President Salva Kiir and his former deputy turned rebel leader, Riek Machar.
In a dramatic gesture following a retreat bringing together the two South Sudanese leader to the Vatican, the Pontiff knelt to kiss their feet, urging them not return to a civil war.
The Pope appealed to them to respect the armistice they signed and commit to forming a unity government, as promised, in May 2019.
On 21 February 2020, just a day after Kiir dissolved his previous government, Machar was sworn in as his deputy.
This was the third time this same arrangement had been made to try to win peace in the country where war between factions loyal to each of the two brothers, has killed over 400,000 people.