Cirilo undecided as SSOMA delegates expected in Juba next week

Cirilo undecided as SSOMA delegates expected in Juba next week
Pagan Amum Okiech of Real SPLM and Paul Malong Awan of SSUF/A, whose delegates to CTSAMVM will arrive in Juba on Monday. [Photo: Courtesy]


Rebel leader Thomas Cirilo is yet to respond to President Salva Kiir invitation to return to the country.

Cirilo who commands National Salvation Front (NAS) is most likely to miss next week’s event when a delegation of South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) is expected to touch down in Juba to engage the government in a possible discussion of peace deal .

President Kiir last week called on the holdout groups to accept a ceasefire and return to the country to contribute to the peace process.

The SSOMA delegation is part of the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) is expected to arrive in Juba on Monday.

Yesterday, the military spokesperson of Malong’s South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A), Col Philip Deng Nguot, said the SSOMA delegation would touch down at Juba International Airport on Monday.

“SSUF/A and R-SPLM CTSAMVM representatives will depart for Juba on Monday, according to the signed communique in Rome by SSOMA and the government of RTGoNU,” Col Deng stated.

However, he said other movements that are part of Non-signatory Opposition Groups, including the National Salvation Front (NAS) of Cirilo, were yet to decide on their inclusion into CTSAMVM.

“The integration only includes the SSOMA faction made up of SSUF/A under Gen. Paul Malong and the R-SPLM under Secretary Pagan Amum Okiech,” he stated.

“And I believe our team will touch down at Juba International Airport on Monday, August 15, 2022, in the evening hours.”

Last week, President Kiir announced the roadmap for the extension of the transitional period by 24 months starting from February 22, 2023, till February 22, 2025.

Kiir called upon holdout groups, especially Pagan Amum and Cirilo, to accept a ceasefire and return to the country to contribute to the peace process.

“Comrades Amum and Cirilo should come back home and join hands with us in Juba as the other comrades have. We were together in the liberation, and while we have differed, we need them to join us now to set history on a correct course,” the president said.

Kiir said the current government might not be meeting the expectations of citizens but it was better than war.

“While we deliver this message, with heavy hearts, we nevertheless have clear minds. We know this transitional government is not what you deserve but it is better than war,” he added.

SSOMA parties (Real SPLM and SSUF/A) agreed to be included in the ceasefire monitoring body in mid-December, 2021.

On June 30, 2022, SSOMA members concluded the CTSAMVM wo​​rkshop in Rome where the timeline for their inclusion was indicated as August 15, 2022, but preparation such as declaring the size and location of their forces were supposed to begin on August 1.

According to the communique, the government forces were tasked to ensure SSOMA delegates taking part in CTSAMVM activities are maximally protected.