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 "full control" of the situation in the capital after what he says was an overnight coup attempt.
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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid