News / Africa

'We Want to End This War,' Released South Sudan Politician Says

Former SPLM secretary general Pagan Amum speaks to reporters after a South Sudanese judge released him and three others who were detained more than four months ago for allegedly attempting a coup.
Former SPLM secretary general Pagan Amum speaks to reporters after a South Sudanese judge released him and three others who were detained more than four months ago for allegedly attempting a coup.
Pagan Amum, one of four South Sudanese political figures released last week after spending four months in jail for allegedly plotting to oust President Salva Kiir, said Monday he is not bitter about his long detention and will devote his energy to ending the violence in the country.

"We want to end this war," Amum told South Sudan in Focus host John Tanza in an interview.

"Having been released, we have no bitterness, but we are full of hope and love and forgiveness and we want to engage with these brothers to end this war and resolve the problems of our country through dialogue," he said.

Conflict has ethnic overtones

Amum said the conflict, which began in December as a political rift between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar, has "unfortunately taken an ethnic dimension."

"People are dying and innocent people are suffering," Amum said.
This is not the time to judge. It's a time to stop the bleeding.

"There are now very clear signs of massacres that have been taking place and the trend of a sectarian split," he said. "This must be brought to an end... Otherwise, it will destroy this young nation."

Amum was one of 11 members of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) who were detained in mid-December after fighting broke out in Juba, before rapidly spilling over into other parts of the country.

Kiir said the clashes in Juba were an attempted coup led by Machar, who went into hiding when the unrest erupted.

Seven of the 11 so-called political detainees were freed in late January, after the warring sides signed a cessation of hostilities pact and agreed to expedite the release of the detained politicians.

But Amum and three others -- former security minister Oyay Deng Ajak, former deputy defense minister Majok D'Agot Atem, and former envoy for southern Sudan to the United States, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth -- remained in jail, and in March were taken to court for hearings to determine if they had committed treason.

They were released last week, with the government saying it had set them free to promote the peace effort for the country.  Amum said the case against the four had fallen apart. 

Priority is 'to stop thiswar'

Amum said his priority now is to "stop this war" and help to heal the "very serious wounds that have been inflicted on the nation."

"Later on, we will investigate and bring out the truth. But this is not the time to judge. It's a time to stop the bleeding," Amum said.

To listen to the entire interview, click on the link below.

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Comment Sorting
by: boro from: juba
April 30, 2014 6:33 AM
Thanks pagan amum for conveying awise message of stopping war .i hope you will work for peace & reconcilation for better south sudan .

by: COS from: Juba-south sudan
April 30, 2014 4:33 AM
I thank Hon Pagan Amum for his message of peace and forgiveness.Though they were arrested and detente,they or their supporters should not feel bad because it was going to be more worse than Riek rebellion who is gaining support mostly from Nuer youths.Ask me why?He was going to mobilise all shuluku kingdom as well as other politicians go for Great Equatoria Kingdom and Dinka Kingdom.Thank God their eyes were made blind not to escape for four months and now release but unfortunately found the ground is full of blood of the innocent citizens who even one south Sudanse pound have not eaten from those who claim or heading we are going to wrong direction or right direction.

by: Name withheld from: Juba
April 30, 2014 4:17 AM
I agree with Pagan that this is not time to judge. Judging and blaming must wait. Stoppage of the killing must be done at all cost. If the four and seven want to participate in resolving this conflict, they must take a side of the two negotiating team. It is also not time to be neutral.

by: Sam Dave from: USA
April 29, 2014 9:03 PM
Yes I believe you and three others with you in jail plus seven detainees had been released. You guys are the bridge between Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar conflicts. I believe if you and three others didn't stay in jail that long, this war can't reached four months. Now, I hope the war will not reach other four months again. You right, this is not the time to judge. It is the time to stop South Sudan's crisis. Time to start to love, faithful, forgiveness, and also this is time for no tribalism, nepotism, corruption, and President and former Vice president none self interests. You're the leaders. May God bless South Sudan.

by: Mario from: Nakuru-Kenya
April 29, 2014 3:38 PM
The government of Republic of South Sudan is trying to forgive and work with people. If Hon Pagan Amum is had agree to end this war plus his colleagues they should joint the peace process in Ethiopia to tell the fact to both side, government and Rebels but the have to part of one side.

by: Human Eaters from: Nairobi
April 29, 2014 12:14 PM
I have seen the future of Pagan Amum as he trying to bring peace after months in the jailed and message is very clear to us as citizens of South Sudan.
This nation need patient, pain, love, forgiveness, faith, encourages, security etc despite the little bitterness we have gone through for short period of time.
If Riak Machar have ears, he will hear what has been said Hon Pagam Amum.

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