South Sudan rebels split, reject peace efforts

2015-08-11 20:17
(AFP)

(AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - A top South Sudan rebel general said on Tuesday that he and other powerful commanders had split from their chief Riek Machar, rejecting ongoing peace talks and risking a worsening of the country's civil war.

Already more than two dozen armed groups are involved in a 19-month-long civil war that has left tens of thousands dead and has been marked by widespread atrocities on both sides.

Rebel commander Gathoth Gatkuoth, sacked last month along with another key commander, Peter Gadet, said they were now at war with both former rebel comrades and the government in Juba.

Gatkuoth, the former rebel logistics chief, said he and Gadet would now battle Machar and President Salva Kiir.

"They are symbols of hate, division and failed leadership," he said. "Both leaders were responsible for starting the crisis."

South Sudan's civil war began in December 2013 when Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of planning a coup, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that has split the poverty-stricken, landlocked country along ethnic lines.

Peace talks in neighbouring Ethiopia restarted last week as international pressure mounts ahead of an August 17 deadline to strike a deal.

But the breakaway rebels accused Machar of seeking power for himself, and said they would not recognise any deal agreed.

"Those talks are about Riek Machar looking for positions, it is not the peace that we want," Gatkuoth told AFP, claiming to be speaking from border regions between South Sudan and Sudan. "Any peace that is signed will not be legitimate and will not be respected."

It is unclear how many troops the new rebel faction command, but both Gatkuoth and Gadet have long been powerful commanders on the ground. It will also likely weaken Machar's position at the talks.

The war has been characterised by ethnic massacres and rape. Recent attacks have included castration, rape and tying children together before slitting their throats.

Gadet - blacklisted with United Nations sanctions - operated as a notorious militia chief for decades in the northern battleground state of Unity.

He was accused of shooting down a UN helicopter in August 2014 in which three Russian crew members were killed, claims he denied. He also led an April 2014 attack on the oil town of Bentiu in which hundreds were slaughtered, according to the UN.

Read more on:    riek machar  |  peter gadet  |  gathoth gatkuoth  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.