SUDAN WATCH: South Sudan Jonglei: Athor's demands include cancellation of election results. UNMIS' Jasbir Lidder mediates

Thursday, May 13, 2010

South Sudan Jonglei: Athor's demands include cancellation of election results. UNMIS' Jasbir Lidder mediates

ON THURSDAY (13 May) Radio Miraya reported that in its interview with George Athor, a renegade former senior member of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Mr Athor demanded the cancellation of the election results, dissolving the current Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) and the formation of a new transitional government to supervise holding of the Southern Sudan referendum.

Also, in an interview with Sudan Radio Service (SRS) from an undisclosed location on Wednesday (12 May), Mr Athor said that his talks with the southern government's president-elect are at a standstill. In the interview, Mr Athor is quoted as saying:
“I believe that within days, my attack will be against Bor town because I have learned that Salva is somebody who only likes fighting and he doesn’t want to talk. So it is for him to listen to what we are saying, I am organizing my forces for Bor town, I am organizing my forces for Bor town. [...] my warning to all citizens is that they should leave Bor immediately and any place with military bases, they should leave it, because our target is only the military.”
According to the BBC's James Copnall in Khartoum, on Wednesday morning gunfire was exchanged in Thoudiak between forces belonging to Mr Athor and the Southern army.

Full story here below plus several related reports, including Sudan Tribune's report published Wednesday, 12 May saying:
The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has pledged to mediate peace between the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) and the renegade Lt. General George Athor Deng.

In a statement to Reuters today, the general Athor said he had been contacted by a UN official offering him to broker a deal with southern Sudan government.

A delegation from UNMIS, headed by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Jasbir Lidder, on Wednesday met with the Vice President-designate of the government, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, to explore ways to initiate the process.

The meeting discussed the possibility of halting the crisis by reaching a peaceful settlement to the ongoing clashes in the troubled Jonglei state through negotiations with Athor.

The UN team briefed the Vice President about their ongoing phone contacts with Gen. George Athor whom they said was expressing willingness to negotiate with the government.

The delegation expressed UN’s readiness to provide logistical support for the process.

Dr. Machar appreciated the efforts the UN team has exerted in their direct contacts with Gen. Athor, but however said the government would first make further consultations and review the situation before he could promise a decision to the UN body.

A follow up joint meeting between the government and UNMIS representatives is expected to take place in the next few days in order to try to agree on the way forward.
UNMIS Jasbir Singh Lidder (India) Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Photo: Jasbir Singh Lidder (India) Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Source: UNMIS - see biography)

Athor demands cancellation of election results
From Radio Miraya - Thursday, 13 May 2010 - excerpt:
Athor, who recently began rebelling against SPLA, warned against what he described as an imminent comprehensive war in Southern Sudan unless his demands are met. Athor is currently in an area between Duk Padiet and Awet.

He also claimed that he is receiving support from within the Sudan People's Liberation Army.

The SPLA spokesperson Kuol Deim Kuol threatened to eliminate Athor's forces by military means if he continues to make ‘false allegations'. However, he stressed that SPLA wants the issue to be resolved peacefully.

Speaking to Miraya, Kuol Deim Kuol denied the presence of Athor's supporters within the SPLA, adding that Athor's forces are not more than a hundred soldiers, and that they have fled to uninhabited areas.

Listen to George Athor

Listen to Kuol Deim Kuol

Read also: Jonglei Governor: SPLA will defend any rebellion against GoSS (11 May, 2010)
Athor Is Ready to Fight SPLA
From SRS (Sudan Radio Service):
Thursday, 13 May 2010 (Nairobi) – The renegade former SPLA lieutenant-general George Athor says he will defend himself if his demands are not met.

Athor whose forces allegedly attacked on SPLA barracks in Doliep Hill last month has been involved in subsequent clashes with SPLA soldiers this month.

In an interview with SRS from an undisclosed location on Wednesday, Athor told SRS producer Daniel Danis that talks between him and the GOSS president-elect are at a standstill.

[George Athor]: “The talks are not going on. They have stopped talking to us and they are attacking us. Not a single soldier can move without the knowledge of the president or the commander-in-chief of the troops.”

[Daniel Danis]: Can you confirm whether you will still maintain your position of defensive and not offensive, because rumors has it that you will probably attack Bor, or any other town within the South.

[George Athor]: “I believe that within days, my attack will be against Bor town because I have learned that Salva is somebody who only likes fighting and he doesn’t want to talk. So it is for him to listen to what we are saying, I am organizing my forces for Bor town.”

[Daniel Danis]: But are you not concern that you might sacrifice the lives of civilians by doing this?

[George Athor]: “Well, my warning to all citizens is that they should leave Bor immediately and any place with military bases, they should leave it, because our target is only the military.”

[Daniel Danis]: Can you really hope to deter or actually fight the SPLA forces?

[George Athor]: “We are not playing chess my brother. Fighting is fighting and I can not tell you how many troops I have.”

[Daniel Danis]: What exactly are you hoping to gain by this action?

[George Athor]: “Our first demand is the abolition of the election results. Because the elections were rigged, and so we don’t recognize it. Second, we want the dissolution of the Government of Southern Sudan, and then all the political parties of southern Sudan should come together to discuss how they can form an interim government that will lead us to the referendum and then elections after the referendum.”

George Athor, a former SPLA lieutenant-general, was talking to SRS on Wednesday.
UN to mediate peace between Gen. Athor and South Sudan
From Sudan Tribune - Thursday 13 May 2010 - excerpt:
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 (JUBA) - Dr. Machar appreciated the efforts the UN team has exerted in their direct contacts with Gen. Athor, but however said the government would first make further consultations and review the situation before he could promise a decision to the UN body.

A follow up joint meeting between the government and UNMIS representatives is expected to take place in the next few days in order to try to agree on the way forward.

Nobody knows the exact location of Gen. Athor who is generally known to be hiding in thick forests somewhere in the north-western part of Jonglei state.
Jonglei Governor: SPLA will defend any rebellion against GoSS
From Radio Miraya - Tuesday, 11 May 2010 22:56:
The Governor-elect of Jonglei State, Kuol Manyang Juuk, has described recent threats made by General George Athor to attack Bor town as a rebellion against the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS). Speaking to Radio Miraya, Juuk said that such threats are not allowed. He added that the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and GoSS will defend anyone who chooses to take up arms against the nation.

However, he downplayed George Athor's threats saying that his forces are 200 Km far from Bor town, adding that Athor's forces are neither in Bor town nor anywhere near.

Earlier, the defeated independent candidate for Jonglei governorship, General George Athor, told Reuters News Agency that he will launch an attack on Bor town.

Click and listen to Jonglei State Governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk
Athor’s threats to attack Jonglei capital amount to rebellion - Governor
From Sudan Tribune - Wednesday 12 May 2010 - excerpt:
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 (BOR) - Athor said he had clashed with SPLA on Monday for the second time and threatened to attack an important town if the assault on his forces persists.

“We are organizing our forces in all areas and we are going to converge in Bor….attacking Bor,” Athor told Reuters adding that he is willing to negotiate.

Reacting to Athor claims, Kuol Manyang told the Sudan Tribune on Monday in Bor that "he (Athor) is far from the state headquarters; about 200 kilometers away," adding he has no forces around Bor town or near Bor town and if he is attacking the State headquarters, then, that is a rebellion that the government of Southern Sudan will not allow.”

"Yes, the State has no forces of its own, but is being defended by the SPLA – by the government of southern Sudan against anybody who takes arms against the nation," Kuol Manyang noted.
Here is a copy of some comments posted at Sudan Tribune article (see above) entitled "Athor’s threats to attack Jonglei capital amount to rebellion - Governor":
12 May 08:42, by Ajawuk Juma
Dear Southerners

The problem of Gen. G. Athor Deng is not between him and the Governor elected Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk but, the so called SPLM Political Bureau and President Kiir ’s administration who always favor the CPA invited guests over our heros and the free fighters.

According to Mr Deng to whom his mother from te same area with Gen. Athor talked with me in Juba this morning , he said that there is series of negotiations going on between Government of Southern Sudan GOSS and Gen. Athor including some generals in SPLM/A.

Deng told me his father did talk to Gen. Athor over the phone and said that is not the way we solve our differences as Monyjang which always make us to be different from other communities.

This problem is going to be solve soon, so the devil heart people should not be too excited. I heard that they are clubbing everywhere.

You can do some celebration but don’t drink over the limit. Remember guys is a critical times for all of us whether u are traitor or liberarors.

We don’t know where the war against referendum will start whether on the border or within the South.
- - -

12 May 04:19, by thomas
Once men start acting like this, I simply stop listening to them. I don’t care whether Gov. Manyang or Gen. Athor is Governor of Jonglei, I don’t know them and I’m not from there. The only thing I care about is innocent people’s lives, none of this is worth one life. We’ve already lost a few soldiers, let’s mourn them. They had bright futures...

Please, I plead with Jonglei citizens, only you know the root cause of this rivalry. It’s all our responsibility to become agents for tolerance, peace, and love. One by one, that is how voices that spread division and violence are drowned out in a sea of love.
- - -

12 May 05:24, by Gatwech
Dear readers,

Gen. Athor’s war is real!

Please read the new article about its devastation on southsudannation.com under the title, ’Jonglei State: Gen. George Athor’s war is devastatingly unresolved.’
- - -

12 May 07:12, by Gatwech
Dear readers,

Bor town in trouble!

Kuol Manyang Juuk is not a true soldier. He has proved that he was just hiding behind child soldiers and never captured a town or village while at close range of Kenyan borders. Look at his military incompetence! He thinks that 200 kilometers distance between Bor town and where Gen. George Athor is based is like a distance between heaven and earth.

Gen. George Athor can reach Bor town in one day on foot. And surprisingly, he has several trucks to transport his soldiers. The unpaid SPLA soldiers will not fight effectively even if paid now and they may also split themselves on sectional lines like what initially occured between Dinka sectional soldiers in Doleib Hills who shoot at each other leaving 5 officers dead including ten foot soldiers. They took positions on sectional lines.

Bor town will soon be destroyed. I was sure about that when I read it on southsudannation.com that the ring leader Chibitek Mabil, who destroyed Duk county headquarters last year, has now taken thousands of his armed youth to Gen. George Athor, and then promoted as Colonel by Gen. Athor.

Also Thousands of Murle youth are said to have gone missing in Pibor county and may be heading to Gen. George Athor.

Definitely he will attack Bor town and destroy it in the face of SPLA and Kuol Manyang Juuk.

I talked to somebody in Bor town yesterday who confirmed to me that civilians have already started fleeing villages in the outskirt of Bor town and Bor South County.

It is really, very, very serious!!!

You reap what you sow! What goes around comes around. The Ngundeng’s prophesy about the predicted destruction of Bor is now coming to pass!

Watch out!!!
- - -
Athor hints at negotiations after clashes with South Sudan army
From Sudan Tribune by Ngor Arol Garang - Wednesday, 12 May 2010 - excerpt:
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 (WUNROK) - ... However after fresh clash with SPLA forces in Jonglei on yesterday, Athor on Tuesday hinted at possible negotiations with regional authorities but preferred mediation of negotiations by choosing both political and military figures he wanted to mediate his talks with regional authorities.

"If they need any negotiation with us, I have no problem because I have already started receiving calls and began direct communications with many people including Salva Kiir Mayardit," Athor further said that he would like negotiations to be mediated by groups of leaders that he already communicated their names to Juba.

The talks "should be mediated by Lual Diing Wol, James Wani Igga, Benjamin Majak Dau, General Peter Gadet, Paul Mayom Akech and those that I have mentioned in previous communications with authorities in Juba," Athor said.

General Athor, who also declined to mention his whereabouts in the third interview with Sudan Tribune, said his forces are not planning to attack any civil administrative unit or military base. "It is not in our best interest to attack any civil administrative unit nor to attack any military base but we will defend ourselves if attacked," he warned.

"We will not tolerate being attacked. We are being attacked. They attacked us yesterday and have seen how we reacted in self defense," he said.

"Their attacks are beneficial to us because we have yesterday destroyed and captured a lot of vehicles including an anti-aircraft machine gun and our forces have discovered bodies of 33 soldiers with different ranks and three officers. On our side, five soldiers and two officers sustained minor injuries and three at critical conditions."

Colonel Malaak Ayuen Ajok, head of information and public relations in the office of the SPLA spokesman, said SPLA do not have orders to launch offensive attacks on forces loyal to General Athor but have deployed their forces to contain his movement out of the area.
South Sudan: ‘No negotiation with a rebel commander’
From The New Sudan Vision (NSV) by Mading Ngor
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 08:58:
(Victoria BC NSV) - The caretaker minister of legal affairs in the government of southern Sudan, Makuei Lueth, said on Tuesday that there is no negotiation with Gen. George Athor.

“There is no question of sending a delegation to a commander who has mutinied. So there’s nothing like that. He must be crushed militarily,” Minister Makuei told New Sudan Vision from Juba.

“As the Government of Southern, it’s decided that this issue should be addressed militarily,” he said.

Minister Makuei said there have not been negotiations with ‘the renegade general’ from the outset.

“The position of the caretaker Government of southern Sudan since day one has been that this thing should be addressed militarily.

“After all he has killed people, how do we negotiate with him? Is he ready to come and answer for the death of these soldiers, those soldiers whom he killed in cold blood in Doleib, is he ready to answer for them?”

“There’s nothing like that.”

Photo: Caretaker minister of legal affairs and constitutional development, Makuei Lueth (Photo by GoSS)
South Sudanese army caught in fresh fighting
From BBC News, Khartoum by James Copnall at 17:43 GMT,
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 18:43 UK - excerpt:
South Sudan army

The south Sudan army says only two of its soldiers died in the latest fighting

There has been fresh fighting in south Sudan between the Southern army and forces loyal to the former general George Athor.

The army has denied claims by Mr Athor that dozens of its soldiers were killed in the clashes in Jonglei state.

Mr Athor was a defeated candidate in April's landmark elections in Sudan, which he insists were rigged.

At least eight people were killed when mutinous troops attacked an army base in Jonglei late last month.

Mr Athor denied leading the troops, but said he sympathised with them.

On Wednesday morning, gunfire was exchanged in Thoudiak between forces belonging to Mr Athor and the Southern army.

The former general said his soldiers fought off a large-scale attack, killing 83 while losing four of his own men.

However, a spokesman for the Southern army said only an 11-man reconnaissance unit had been involved from his side.

He said two of his men had been killed and two wounded.

There was no independent confirmation of the scale of the fighting.
Click on Athor label at the end of this entry to view related reports.

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