News / Africa

South Sudan Officials on 'Coup-Convincing' Tour

South Sudan President Salva Kiir tells reporters at a news conference in Juba on Monday, December 16, 2013 that the government has
South Sudan President Salva Kiir tells reporters at a news conference in Juba on Monday, December 16, 2013 that the government has "full control" of the situation in the capital after what he says was an overnight coup attempt.
Lucy Poni
South Sudan has dispatched a three-man team to try to convince African leaders that months of fighting in the young country were triggered by a botched coup bid led by former vice president Riek Machar -- a message Juba has had difficulty convincing others is true.

The delegation led by Ateny Wek Ateny, President Salva Kiir's spokesman,  has already travelled to Cairo, Kampala and Khartoum and was in Nairobi on Wednesday, where Ateny briefed reporters on the message South Sudanese authorities are trying to get across.

The government of South Sudan is not happy with media coverage in neighboring countries of the events that triggered the conflict, he said.

“What happened on the 15th of December, in our own definition and what we believe to have happened, was a mere military coup that failed," Ateny said.

"The definition that was made outside seems to be gaining momentum, simply because the world of today has become where the truth is bought and sold,” he said.

The government  has insisted since December that Machar, whom Kiir fired along with the rest of the cabinet in July, led a failed bid to oust the president, which snowballed into months of unrest across South Sudan, resulting in thousands of lives being lost and some 900,000 people being forced from their homes.

Machar, who went into hiding shortly after the fighting broke out, has denied having anything to do with a coup bid, although he has said since the violence erupted that he is in open rebellion against Kiir's government.

As part of its mission to convince others that the government's version of events in South Sudan is the correct one, the South Sudanese delegation has been handing out booklets entitled, "The truth about the aborted coup of Dr. Riek Machar and his group."

Ateny told reporters in Nairobi that the fighting in South Sudan was sparked by a political rift, and was not a tribal war, and they should report it that way..

The officials will continue their tour for several more weeks, with the next stop an undisclosed country in West Africa.

Opposition calls tour 'last kick of dying horse'


Goi Jooyul, an anti-government delegate at peace talks for South Sudan in Addis Ababa, which are currently adjourned but due to resume in two weeks, called the tour a waste of time and "the last kick of a dying horse."

"Selling the idea of a coup... Everybody knows that there was no coup," he said, adding that the tour could disrupt the "conducive atmosphere for the peace talks" at a time when the two sides are "moving towards reconciliation... towards an SPLM leadership meeting... towards governance issues to be solved in the next round."

Jooyul said the opposition has no plans to hold a similar tour to win over media to their way of seeing the events in South Sudan.

Meanwhile, as Ateny and his team pursued their efforts, ruling party officials in South Sudan said Kiir has set up a committee to charge several officials with treason if a court finds them guilty of taking part in the alleged coup.

Among those the committee has in its sights are Machar, Taban Deng Gai, former governor of Unity state and the lead negotiator for the opposition at the peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, and Pag'an Amum Okiech, the former secretary general of the ruling SPLM party.

Amum is one of four SPLM political figures who are still  in detention in Juba, months after they were taken into custody after fighting erupted in the capital in December.

The other three, who could also face treason charges, are former deputy defense minister Majak D'Agoot; Oyai Deng Ajak, former national security minister, and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, who served as head of the government liaison office in the United States.

Machar, Gai and former environment minister Alfred Lado Gore fled South Sudan or went into hiding and will be tried in absentia.

South Sudan Justice Minister Paulino Wanawilla said in January that government investigators have found enough evidence to charge all seven men with treason for their part in what the government insists was a coup attempt that the accused say never happened.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kuol Kum from: Addiss Ababa
March 07, 2014 3:35 PM
it is the wasted of moneys by the govt for nonsenses things, what happened actually is not a coup as many countries commented on, it is failure of Administration by the head of state for mismanagement and lack of the democracy within the party SPLM where is the evidences of coup? what I know so far the delegation has cooked their mind on how they can get the money does not mean that they are going to achieve an things on their touring, the states which they have mentioned above are already knew what was happened is not a coup in the first place and also they have a experienced on the dictatorial way of Kiir Administration.

by: Lual peter from: Nairobi
March 07, 2014 1:55 AM
This is nonsense tour for the gov't. It seems as Ateny is showing to president how actively he is doing in this matter. It would be shameful, if gov't is the one planning this tour; since it will not bring any effect while money, time and energy is wasted.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs