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June 05, 2014

South Sudan Denies Charges of Intimidation

by James Butty

South Sudan’s Minister of Information said the government, including its security forces, has never threatened the lives of its citizens. 

Michael Makuei said that includes those allegedly involved in a plot to overthrow the government.  Makuei said those who accuse security forces of intimidation are creating false reasons to substantiate their affiliations with the rebels.

This week, a South Sudanese member of parliament, Richard Mulla, defected to the rebels of former vice president Riek Machar claiming security forces tried to make him disappear.  

Francis Nazario, executive director in the office of the Foreign Minister resigned his post citing what he called the rising intimidation of civilians by security forces.  

Makuei said it has been long understood that Mulla was a rebel.
                   
“Richard Mulla is a well-known rebel, just like Riek Machar.  That is one. Number two, there has not been any threat to anybody in terms of threats from security or any other organ against Richard Mulla.  But, it is a known fact that if you are rebelling, you must create a reason, whether it is acceptable or not.  So, what is stated by Richard Mulla is not correct, it’s not true, it’s unfounded.  It is only an excuse to substantiate his being a rebel,” he said.
 
Mankuei said Nazario is a disgruntled former ambassador who is lashing out at the government after being recalled from the United Nations for casting votes not in the interest of South Sudan.
 
“Doctor Francis Nazario was at the South Sudan UN mission and he decided to go against the decision of the government when he voted against Israel in favor of the Arabs, and when he decided to vote against Russia.  When he was called back, ultimately, he felt aggrieved, and, as such, all that he’s saying is only an expression of his dissatisfaction because he has been transferred from where he was,” Makuei said.
 
Makuei said all those who are rebelling will one day seek forgiveness from the government.

As the next round of South Sudan peace talks is about to get underway in Ethiopia, Machar has accused President Salva Kiir of continuing to violate the Cessation of Hostilities agreement.
 
Makeui said the government has always wanted peace, and it would go into the next round expecting peace.
 
But, he said the way the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been mediating the process needs clarification.
 
“What I mean by that is that the coming phase of the talks calls for all the stakeholders to attend the process, and the agreement which was signed by President Salva Kiir and the rebel leader Riek Machar did not tell us who would be the body that will nominate or select the stakeholders.  IGAD secretariat decided to take it upon itself, and without the involvement of the government of South Sudan, selected people of their choice.”
 
Makuei said the government’s position has always been inclusivity and not selectivity.  As such, he said, the government would need further clarification from IGAD before it attends the next round of peace talks.
Butty interview with Makuei