Leader of rebel splinter group denies signing peace agreement with Juba

Nairobi/Juba, December 30, 2015 (SSNA) — The leader of rebel splinter faction Gabriel Changson Chang has denied reports that his rebel group has signed a peace deal with South Sudan’s government, saying his movement will make future peace negotiations “transparent and accountable.”

Gabriel Changson, who broke away from the main South Sudanese rebels this year and head of the Federal Democratic Party (FDP) and its military wing, the South Sudan Armed forces (SSAF), said in a statement a copy of which was obtained by the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) that his faction did not signed any peace agreement with Salva kiir’s government, adding that what was signed between his party and the government was Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

FDP/SSAF and Juba signed the MoU on December 25 in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

The leader of the rebel faction added that the signing of MoU by the two parties means that South Sudanese government and FDP/SSAF commit themselves to engage in future peace negotiations to try to bring an end to the ongoing war.

“On the 25th of December 2015, the Federal Democratic Party and its military wing South Sudan Armed forces (FDP/SSAF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Nairobi Kenya with the Government Republic of South Sudan (GRSS). With the signed MoU, the parties expressed their commitment to engage in peace process aimed at ending the brutal civil war raging on in the country since 2013,” Changson said in the statement.

In the document, Changson says he recognizes the fact that the MoU has caused some concerns among his supporters and that he wants FDP/SSAF supporters to know the fact.

“…this MOU has caused some serious concerns among the FDP/SSAF members worldwide,” he asserted.

“The leadership of the FDP/SSAF released this statement to assure our gallant forces, members, supporters, sympathizers and well-wishers that what was signed was not a peace deal (Peace Agreement) as reported by the media, but just a MoU intended to kick start the peace talks between the two parties,” Changson declared.

Changson also reveals that government delegation that was sent to Nairobi on the 24th of December to meet his team came with what he described as “an unwritten peace message" from South Sudanese President calling on FDP/SSAF to join the peace process before a transitional government is formed.

The leader of the FDP/SSAF disclosed that his splinter group and the government are now working to make peace deal a possibility, adding that the Juba must first make a press statement to the public on its peace initiative with the FDP/SSAF and form an official negotiation team with the FDP/SSAF.

Changson further revealed that future peace talks between Juba and his group will be hosted and facilitated by Kenyan government and an advance team of his movement will then go to juba once a "binding agreement" is signed by the two parties.

On October 21, the former Chairman of National Committee for Finance and Resource Mobilization for the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) accused South Sudan’s rebel leader, Dr. Riek Machar, of “dictatorship,” and called on rebel forces to abandon him.

The armed opposition denied the allegations, saying Changson felt out with the rebel leadership after he mismanaged movement’ financial branch and accused him of pursuing a self-serving interest. The SPLM/A-IO also accused FDP/SSAF leader of taking a huge amount of money from Diaspora, particularly from the SPLM/A-IO’s supporters in the United States and used them for personal gains.

In October, the South Sudan News Agency obtained a leaked audio recording of minutes of a meeting held on the 18th of October 2015 between Changson and his supporters most of whom live in the United States. In the transcripts, Changson can be heard complaining that rebel leader Dr. Machar is a dictator and that Machar appoints people and interferes with their works. Changson also urged his supporters to help establish military bases in any area in Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Unity States.

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