Malong threatens to dump Rome talks over ceasefire violation

Gen. Paul Malong Awan leader of South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A) Photo/courtesy

By William Madouk Garang

The South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A)’s group of Gen. Paul Malong Awan has threatened to withdraw from the sluggish Rome peace talks with the government, citing arrest of his top commander and attack on their position despite cessation of hostility agreement.

Since 2020, the Community of Saint’ Egidio has engaged rebel groups including Malong-led SSUF/A with the government for Rome peace talks in an attempt to join the peace implementation.

In a statement seen by No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, SSUF/A condemned the attacks which allegedly resulted in some of its officers being taken hostage.

“Our operation commander Brig-Gen. Akol Ngong Ayok was taken hostage alongside 5 NCOs including one officer by name Maj. Wol Bol who were caught differently during the incident five days ago and we demand their release immediately,” SSUF/A military spokesman Col. Philip Deng Kuol  said in statement.  

Military aide Kuol accused the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) of attacks in Bahr el Ghazal, adding since they announced their location and size of forces for deployment in CTSAMVM, SSPDF keeps launching their offensive attacks on them.

“SSUF/A regrets to inform the Rome-based Catholic Community of Saint’Egidio and the international community, the regional blocs, IGAD, the African Union (AU), the Troika and all peace-loving… the regime’s SSPDF have been regularly conducting a very malicious operations on the positions of our forces in different parts of greater Bahr el Ghazal region,” he said in a statement. 

“However, as long as the government in Juba decided to keep on violating the ceasefire and the cessation of hostilities agreement signed between SSOMA and the government of R-TGoNU, and if it would keep on instigating the violation of a compromised ceasefire, then we would have no other option rather than to be forced one day to withdraw our commitment to the cessation of hostilities agreement of 2017 inked in Addis Ababa,” the statement added.

Last month, non-signatory group to peace agreement and government agreed to fully implement the cessation of hostilities agreement (CoHA) and ensure all armed forces all times observe the ceasefire deal.

The resolution on the ceasefire deal was reached at the end of an induction training organized by ceasefire monitors in Rome. Parties agreed to prevent any breach of the ceasefire agreement.

The parties further agreed to disseminate the CoHA, sensitize and train forces and affiliates under their command control to ensure full compliance and undertake to hold force accountable for violation. In March 2021, representatives of the government and South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) faction led by Malong and Pagan Amum recommitted to a CoHA signed in December 21,

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