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UGANDA - 20 Feb 2018

Bakosoro: government is planning to lure opposition groups into Juba

File photo: Joseph Bakosoro
File photo: Joseph Bakosoro

The former Western Equatoria State Governor Joseph Bagasi Bakosoro claimed the government is planning to lure all opposition groups into the capital Juba through an “incomplete peace agreement.”

The East African regional bloc IGAD last week suspended South Sudan peace talks for an undetermined time to give warring side ample time to reach conclusive peace deal. The two sides reached a deadlock on most of the key issues.

“The government is planning to lure us into Juba so that people are locked in the city and then it implements its policies, so we don’t want that thing to happen again,” Bakosoro, who is leading a rebel group calling itself South Sudan National Movement for Change, told Radio Tamazuj in an interview today.

The former governor turned opposition leader said conflict will inevitably erupt again if the root causes of the ongoing civil war are not addressed at the peace talks in Addis Ababa.

“Our question as the opposition is that what caused the war after the 2015 peace agreement?” he said.

The South Sudanese politician, who was part of the latest peace talks in Addis Ababa, said they will never sign a peace agreement that will cause another fighting in the capital, while accusing the government of lacking political will to bring about peace in the country.

The opposition leader reiterated their commitment to the revitalization process of the 2015 peace agreement. Bakosoro accused the government of rejecting their proposal for reforms in the security sector.

“The government wants to expand the government only. The government now is unable to pay its employees, so where will we get money from to pay more officials? Our focus is on reforms and the root causes of the conflict,” he said.

The former governor Bakosoro doubted conclusive peace deal with the government in the third round of peace talks.” We are ready for peace and we don’t want to be in exile for a long period of time, but we don’t want to return to Juba without a comprehensive peace agreement,” he said.

“The government rejected to sign the declaration of principles because it does not want a clause that provides for punitive measures against peace spoilers,” he added.

Bakosoro denied claims that the incorporation of armed and non-armed groups that were left out of the 2015 peace agreement are trying to complicate the revitalization process. “The government doesn’t want to answer our question when we ask what led to the collapse of the 2015 peace agreement?” he said.

Bakosoro urged the government to work for peace in order to stop the suffering of the people of South Sudan in the next round of peace talks.