South Sudan’s rebel advance team set to arrive in Juba

Juba, December 21, 2015 (SSNA) — An advance team of  rebel Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) is set to arrive in Juba today (Monday), Spokesman for the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO has announced.

The declaration came weeks after South Sudanese government claimed that an initial number of the rebel advance team which was reported to be at least 500 members was large and that Juba was not ready and offered to accept only 30 members of the armed opposition advance team.

In a statement extended to the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA), Gatdet proclaimed that the leadership of rebels has already set-up a team which comprised of a total of 609 members and the SPLM/A-IO is ready for the implementation of the IGAD-Plus compromise peace agreement; dding that Taban Deng Gai, the lead peace negotiator for the armed opposition will lead the advance team.

“The first group of the Advance Team of SPLM/SPLA (IO) comprising 150 cadres will arrive in Juba on Monday, December 21. They will be led by the Chief Negotiator, General Taban Deng Gai. The remaining number of 459 to make a total of 609 will follow on different dates before the end of the year,” Gatdet announced.

The rebel Spokesman also stated that rebel advance team will include senior political and military leaders of the SPLM/A-IO.

“The group will compose of senior members who will be participating in meetings of various institutions established under the peace agreement, including their support staff. A number of senior military generals from the Military Command Council will also be among the first group that will arrive on Monday,” he said.

Gatdet further revealed that the SPLM/A-IO team will arrive at or about 1:30pm, South Sudan’s local time, hold a news conference at Juba airport, go to the mausoleum of South Sudanese later leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior to pay their respect, visit house of the rival factions of the ruling SPLM party, and then members of the advance team will go to hotels where they will be accommodated.

An internationally-brokered pact was signed by South Sudan’s warring factions in August, paving the way for a much-needed peace in the violence-wracked young nation.

Fighting broke out in mid-December of 2013 between different units of presidential guards after months of political disagreement between senior leaders of the fractious SPLM.

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