The South Sudan rebel movement under Dr. Riek Machar has accused Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his South Sudan counterpart, Salva Kiir of being behind the detention of their leader in South Africa.
A statement released on Thursday evening by the SPLA (in opposition) head of Publicity, Mabior Ganrang de Mabior stated that the South Sudan peace process currently taking place in Entebbe is not in good faith.
“In light of the apparent confusion arising from the recent proliferation of fora, the SPLM/SPLA(IO) would like to caution the people of South Sudan to be vigilant. This current ‘forum shopping’ by President Salva Kiir is a mockery of the peace process,” part of the statement said.
According to Mabior who is also the son SPLA founder, Dr. John Garang, Museveni and Kiir are inviting Machar to talks while at the same time influencing Pretoria to keep watch on the latter.
“It is a contradiction for President Salva Kiir and President Museveni to invite the SPLM/SPLA(IO) to a peace forum, while the Chairman and Commander in Chief of the Movement they have invited is in detention, at their request,” he added.
Mabior stressed that while the Entebbe peace process is going on, SPLA (in government) under Kiir continue to attack their defensive positions.
“The regime has been commanding operations in a futile attempt to take the liberated territories of the Movement, including the Headquarters in Pagak. The intention by President Salva Kiir has little to do with peace and has more to do with consolidating his position while maintaining the status quo.”
When contacted on phone, State Minister for International Relations, Henry Okello Oryem described the accusation as a “joke” and “rubbish”.
“It is a joke to accuse Presidents Museveni and Kiir for the absence of Machar in the peace process. It’s a joke,” Okello-Oryem said.
Machar fled to South Africa after a deadly fight in Juba in July last year. He was rescued from the neighboring United Nations forces and first flown to Khartoum.