High ranking South Sudan army (SPLA) officers have warned of the emergence of a new rebellion with the armed opposition faction unless amendments were made to the regional mediator’s proposed compromise deal prior to its signing.
“The proposal I saw does not solve the problem at all, instead it adds more fuel and prepare the ground for a new rebellion,” the SPLA deputy chief of general staff for operations, Lt. Gen. James Ajonga Mawut told Sudan Tribune Sunday.
“The people of this country are looking for a lasting peace, a peace which will they respect and implement so that there will be no another war,” he added.
His remarks reflect the difficulties the two parties face in the run up to reaching a final peace deal, while conveying a non-compromise message from the government.
Last month, the chief of general staff of the government forces, Paul Malong Awan, warned that he would not accept some of the soldiers from the Nuer ethnic group to be replaced by those who rebelled when a peace agreement is finally reached between the government and armed opposition under former vice president, Riek Machar.
Awan was the first senior officer to warn of a rebellion should the deal turn out to be a bad one.
Analysts and observers say reports of the alleged divisions within the armed opposition leadership make some in government believe they could soon end the rebellion either by using some elements within the rebels to cause inconveniences or use the military approach to carry out major offensives in the war-affected states during the dry season.
The division within the opposition could be sending a message of resolve of some of the armed opposition figures to using the military solution for settling the conflict since some senior commanders have been pushing for an agreement which does not accept to recognise President Salva Kiir as head of the Transitional Government of National Unity.
On the other hand, however, some rebel commanding officers opposing Machar’s leadership could be seeking to kill off any hope of reaching peaceful settlement to the conflict by forming their own faction to enhance the rebellion and to continue launching their own wave of violence against the implementation of a possible peace agreement.
Talks between the two warring factions resumed on 6 August as mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development seek to finalise a peace deal by 17 August.