South Sudanese opposition leader barred from travelling to peace talks

Juba, August 5, 2015 (SSNA) — South Sudan’s opposition leader, Dr. Lam Akol, has been blocked by Juba from travelling to Addis Ababa to participate in the upcoming IGAD-Plus peace talks.

Akol, who is a prominent politician in South Sudanese politics and leader of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) told the Reuters News Agency that he has been blocked from travelling to Ethiopia by South Sudan’s presidency.

Unfortunately, a major general of the police told us that he has directives from the Presidency that the leaders of political parties are not allowed to travel without the permission from the presidency,” Dr. Akol told Reuters.

This is not the first time he has been banned from leaving the country.

Akol was first barred from traveling to Ethiopia in 2014 after government felt that the allied for all South Sudanese opposition parties led by Akol was going to present its own peace proposal at the talks.

At that time, the government was hoping that the leaders of opposition parties were going to support its position on the failed IGAD-mediated negotiations.

It is not clear what prompted Juba again to bar Akol from joining the peace talks. However, a confidential source in Juba told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) that Kiir’s government is desperately trying to silence all leading opposition voices either through barring or arrest.

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