We are no longer rebels, says Col Lam Paul

We are no longer rebels, says Col Lam Paul
Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO Spokesperson at the General Headquarters. (File Photo)

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), led by the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, has lashed out with a ‘rebel tag’ saying they are no longer a holdout group.

The Spokesperson of the party’s military wing – SPLA-IO – Col. Lam Paul, said referring to them as ‘rebels’ is incitement and ill-intention by the South Sudan People’s Defence Force (SSPDF), with whom they implement peace together.

“The constant calling of SPLA-IO forces as “rebels” is itself a negative intention from our peace partner. “We are implementing the peace together and calling our forces on the ground as mobilising rebels is technically an intention showing that they are not okay with us being peace partners to them,” Col. Lam said.

Col. Lam was responding to Sunday’s statement by the SSPDF Spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai who accused SPLA-IO of massive mobilisations of forces and armed civilians in Nasir, Maiwut, and Longchuk in preparation for war in the areas.

“It’s with great concern that SSPDF GHQrs would like to inform the people of South Sudan, the region, and the international community about the ongoing massive mobilisation of rebel forces and armed civilians by our peace partner,

SPLM/A-IO in Nasir, Maiwut, and Longchuk Counties in Upper Nile State,” he said Maj. Gen. Lul.

Col. Lam argued that rebels cannot implement a peace agreement and that the SPLA-IO high-ranking officers, including the Acting Chief of General Staff are in Juba taking part in the peace process.

“The SPLA-IO is not a rebel group anymore. We are implementing peace together, and our Acting Chief of General Staff is here in Juba. Why, why would you call forces loyal to him rebels? This is propaganda and incitement, “said Lam.

In March, the SSPDF and SPLA-IO accused each other of planning violent confrontations that could be a recipe for violence and derail the relative peace.

Maj. Lul said “The SSPDF Spokesperson, Gen. Lul Ruai, said in a statement yesterday that: “SSPDF GHQs-Bilpam would like to inform our ranks and file, the people of South Sudan, the region and the international community that our peace partner, SPLA-IO, is officially at war with the SSPDF, the national army.”

He added that the SPLA-IO had attacked several of their positions which Col. Lam refused, pointing out that SSPDF forces were the aggressors.

“The fight happened in Guol which is a base of the SPLA-IO in Longechuk County, not Maiwut as claimed by Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang. The attackers came from Malual Gahoth. That means the SSPDF are the aggressors, Col. Lam.

On April 3, President Salva Kiir and First Deputy Dr Riek Machar plus Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi ended the long dispute over the unified command structure, paving the way for the graduation of the first batch of the necessary unified forces.

Later, in the same month when President Kiir decreed commanders of the unified structure of the organised forces, the SPLA-IO said some violations would delay the graduation.