Salva Kiir Attempted to assassinate SSDM/A Leader Lt. Gen. George Athor

Joint Press Release
SSLM/A and SSDM/A Joint Command Committee
Jonglei, South Sudan
December, 18, 2011

December 18, 2011 (SSNA) — The leadership of SSLM/A and SSDM/A is deeply troubled by the assassination attempt on the life Lt. Gen. George Athor on December, 13, 2011. After the collapse of peace talks in Nairobi in November between the SSDM/A and Kiir’s government, Lt. Gen. George Athor returned to his headquarters in Pigi County of Jonglei State. On December, 9, 2011, a man claiming to be a priest of Anglican Church contacted the leadership of SSDM/A that he wanted to meet Lt. Gen. George Athor to discuss issues of peace. His request was granted.

On December, 13, one man dressed like a priest was accompanied by two women dressed like deacons. They arrived at the headquarters of SSDA at 11:00am to meet Lt. Gen. Athor. The bodyguards of Athor searched the man and the two women and there was nothing found in their bags except bibles and books on peace. After starting the meeting, the two women requested to go to a toilet. The bodyguards showed them a latrine which was few meters away. After they returned, the bodyguards stopped them before entering into the meeting room to do another search. Surprisingly, a cocked pistol fell down between the legs of one woman. The bodyguards took action and stripped all of them. In the process of searching, another pistol was found hidden in the underwear of one of the women.

After an interrogation, the women and the man confessed that they were sent by Salva Kiir to assassinate George Athor. They put pistols inside their underwear because they knew that Athor’s bodyguards would not search their underwear due to cultural norms in South Sudan. It was discovered that the man is an officer in SPLM Military Intelligent Unit while the women were trained to carry out assassination for six months in Magwi County in Central Equatoria. They confessed that they were given a lot of money to carry out the mission and they were promised that the government of South Sudan would take care of their children should anything happen to them. All of them are Dinka from Bhar-el-Ghazal. They faked to be members of Anglican Church because Anglican attempted many times to mediate between SSDM/A and the government of South Sudan.

The revolutionary forces have decided to set up a tribunal that would try them as per the rules of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). They will be accorded a lawyer during the trial who will defend them from criminal charges that will be laid against them. The Constitution of SSDM/A gives them the right to have access to a lawyer and to be tried before an impartial judge. The revolutionary forces will find an impartial judge who will preside over the trial of the accused.

The international community should condemn Salva Kiir’s attempt to engage in assassinations because such a practice will lead South Sudan to a very dangerous level. Nobody, including Salva Kiir, is immune from assassination. But it is uncivilized for people in the 21st C to engage in assassinations as a way to achieve their political objectives. At the end of July, Col. Gatluak Gai was assassinated three days after signing peace with Juba’s government. The current attempt on the life of SSDM/A leader could be attributed to the failure of peace talks in Nairobi at the end of November.

However, assassinating leaders of freedom fighters will not bring peace in South Sudan nor will it end the war. It is a barbaric act that nobody in the world would encourage its practice. If all the people in the world would resort to assassinations to achieve their political objectives, then, nobody would be immune from assassination. But what Salva Kiir attempted to do is a terrorist act in international law. It has no difference with what the Talibans are doing in Afghanistan. The SSDM/A and SSLM/A will never practice assassinations because they violate international laws.

Therefore, we call upon all peace loving people in the world to condemn such practices and hold Salva Kiir accountable for ongoing insecurity in South Sudan. This is the second time that the government in Juba decided to rely on assassination to achieve a political objective. But the assassination of Col. Gatluak Gai didn’t bring peace in Unity State but increased rebellion. More people in Unity State are joining the ranks and file of SSLA after the assassination of Col. Gatluak Gai. If assassinating leaders of revolutionary forces is the policy of Salva Kiir, then, it follows logically that South Sudan will never have peace.

For Contact:

1. SSDM/A Spokesman James Nuot Puot
Tel. +249-912207569
Pigi, Jonglei State
South Sudan
2. SSLM/A Information Department
Mayom, Unity State
South Sudan
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