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South Sudan’s rebels dismiss link with Olony’s Militia

Addis Ababa, April 23, 2015 (SSNA) -- The office of the Spokesman for the armed opposition of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in Opposition (SPLA-IO) has strongly denied media reports that it’s armed forced have participated in ongoing fighting between government troops and General Johnson Olony militia in Malakal.

The office of rebel Spokesman also refuted any military link with Shiluk-based militia, saying the SPLA-IO’s soldiers did not participate in the fighting and made it clear that there is no any relation or link between the Johnson Olony’s militia and the SPLA-IO.

“This is to inform the public [and] the entire country of South Sudan that SPLA/IO forces have not involved in the ongoing fighting in Malakal and Baliet as some media reported this afternoon,” a statement seen by the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) reads in part.

“I would like to state it very clear that there are no relations between SPLA/IO forces   and Olony’s faction. Some media are trying to magnify this misunderstanding to the extent that our forces have signal communication with General Johnson OLony to send in reinforcement, these all allegations are untrue and baseless information,” the statement further stated.

There have been unconfirmed reports that Olony has inked a secret deal with South Sudanese rebels.

Fighting broke out on Wednesday between government and Olony forces, raising questions as to what happened to a military deal which was signed between Kiir and Olony.

Olony has signed a deal with South Sudanese government, making his group loyal to Kiir's government, and Olony himself has on many occasions allowed his fighters to fight against rebel forces in Upper Nile State.

Many South Sudanese believe that the recent killing of one of Shiluk Generals by the SPLA-Juba could be the cause of already deteriorating relation between Kiir and Olony.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said at least five staff members of Governor of Upper Nile State were wounded in the fighting and that they are being treated in a UN-run hospital.

The SPLA-IO also disclosed that it has no plan to attack government’s positions, saying it is committed to cessation of hostilities agreement which was signed in January this year. The statement further asserted that the SPLA-IO will only act if Juba resumes its “recklessness behavior."

South Sudan’s rebel leadership launches its ‘second consultative meeting’ in Pagak

Addis Ababa, April 20, 2015 (SSNA) -- The leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) has convened its second consultative conference in Pagak, South Sudan.

The meeting comes as IGAD and its peace partners look for ways to come up with a new peace proposal after previous peace talks collapsed early last month in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The meeting which began on Sunday has been attended by the SPLM/A-IO’s Chairs, deputy chairs of various national and specialized committees, representatives of the Movement abroad, senior military commanders, and governors of the states, according to a press statement released by James Gatdet Dak - the Spokesman for the Chairman of the SPLM/A-IO.

Gatdet said the leadership is set to discuss a host of issues including IGAD’s previous and new peace proposals.

“The agenda will be discussing IGAD mediation including the proposed new mediation mechanism that may include AU, EU, UN, Troika and China. They will also be discussing AU report on atrocities committed in the war. Status of the Arusha agreement between factions of the SPLM will also be looked into.” Gatdet said in the statement.

Gatdet also disclosed that the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO will discuss the status of Arusha Agreement, dialogue with other South Sudanese political parties, former detainees, political mobilization, leaked AU reports on atrocities committed, and humanitarian situation in areas under rebels’ control.

Gatdet further revealed that the rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar, in his opening remarks, reiterated the SPLM/A-IO commitment to peace and called on attendees “to deliberate on the issues and agree on the way forward.”

In the meeting, Taban Deng Gai, the Chief negotiator for the SPLM/A-IO briefed participants on the status of the peace process and told the gathering of key movement figures that he expects a new mediation mechanism, according the statement extended to the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA).

SSRRA Diaspora Conference kicks off in the United States

Council Bluffs, Iowa, April 18, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SSRRA) has kicked off its official diaspora civil society meeting in the United States after the arrival of delegation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO).

An official delegation of the SPLM-IO led by H.E. Gabriel Changson Chang arrived in the United States on Thursday, paving the way for the widely anticipated conference organized by SSRRA-USA Office.

The convention under the theme: “Creating Humanitarian Awareness and Peace Building in South Sudan,” which has been designed specifically to raise awareness about the worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan has drawn at least two thousand South Sudanese, making it one of SSRRA’s successful meetings in Diaspora.

In the summit, the civil dialogue between the SPLPM-IO’s delegates and South Sudanese has been dominated by humanitarian crisis in the violence-wracked South Sudan.

The attendees discussed ways for people to raise awareness about the situation and how one can participate in humanitarian efforts.

The speakers of the gathering also called on all South Sudanese to reject division and work together to help find a peaceful solution to the ongoing civil war.

William Pay Tuoy, the Executive Director of the SSRRA-US Office said he has never thought in his life that South Sudanese would turn their guns on themselves, adding that he is very disappointed to see his country falling apart.

“It has never crossed my mind that South Sudan would be in this unfortunate situation it now finds itself in,” Tuoy told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) at the conference site.

“So many people have already been killed in this war; it is sad…but any South Sudanese can do something to make a difference in the lives of those who have been affected by this senseless war,” he added.

Other notable attendees at the meeting are Hon. Hussein Mar Nyuot - Chairman for the SPLM-IO National Committee on Humanitarian Affairs and SSRRA, Hon. Gatwech Peter Kulang - National Executive Director for SSRRA General Headquarters in Pagak, South Sudan, Hon. Reath Muoch Tang - the SPLM-IO Representative to the United States, among others.

The SSNA noticed that most speakers at the convention have called on the United Nations to move its head quarters out of Juba, arguing that South Sudan’s government has killed lots of people who are relatives to displaced persons who are now living in United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) camps.

The SSRRA leaders urge people to donate and support relief efforts in South Sudan, especially in Greater Upper Nile region. More information about donation, how to get involve, and contact information can be found at SSRRA’s website, http://www.ssrra.org/

The conference is being held in Council Bluffs, Iowa, United States.

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