South Sudan rebel leader Thomas Cirilo no longer a threat to peace

The leader of South Sudan’s holdout opposition, National Salvation Front (NAS), Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka, does no longer constitute a threat to the peace agreement signed by South Sudan government and opposition groups last year in Ethiopia, a opposition official told the Nyamilepedia on Wednesday.

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, and opposition leaders including Dr. Riek Machar of the main armed opposition group, the SPLM-IO, signed a revitalized version of a 2015 peace deal in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa last September to end the ongoing conflict in the world’s youngest nation.

Gen. Thomas Cirilo’s NAS pulled out of talks shortly before parties could sign a preliminary peace agreement on August 5th 2018 saying the mediators rejected to incorporate his demands ranging from federalism to the number of states into a then peace proposal.

The group, which was then a part of South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) led by Gabriel Changson Chang, split into two with one led by Gen. Khalid Butrus joining the peace process and Thomas Cirilo saying he will not sign until the agreement is reopened for renegotiation.

In an exclusive interview with the Nyamilepedia on Tuesday, Jacob Paul, a spokesman for the NAS faction led by Khalid Butrus said Cirilo is no longer a threat to the peace agreement signed last year.

“Thomas [Cirilo] does not constitute any threat at the moment because his forces are only confined in jungles of Yei River state, not also the whole of State,” he told the Nyamilepedia adding that: “For example he has no presence in greater Kajokeji and other jungles of Yei and Lainya.”

Paul further said that current activities for Cirilo’s NAS are limited to few villages in Central Equatoria region saying he also question their presence in these areas.

“In Central Equatoria their activities are limited to some villages like Wonduruba and Lobonok and I am not really sure about this to be frank,” he said.

He added: “NAS-TC is waging propaganda war to win support of those who are doubting the implementation of the R-ARCISS in letter and spirit.”

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