Salah Gosh, chief negotiator of the north’s National
Congress Party (NCP) and special security adviser
to the President (Reuters)
A senior official at the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) warned the Sudan people Liberation Movement (SPLM) that any attempts to carry out sabotage in the North carries the risk of a strong response.
Salah Gosh, who is also a presidential adviser for security affairs, held a press conference in Khartoum that came at the heels of SPLM accusations that the NCP is trying to overthrow South Sudan’s government through arming and supporting militias in the South.
On Saturday heavy clashes broke out between south Sudanese troops and a rebel militia led by renegade General George Athor accused of links to Khartoum in the southern border town of Malakal, in oil-rich Upper Nile state, that left 42 people dead.
Athor was the deputy Chief of General Staff for Political Orientation in the South Sudan army, but rebelled in April of last year after losing gubernatorial elections to the incumbent governor of Jonglei state, Kuol Manyang Juuk. He accused the SPLM of allegedly rigging the election in favor of his rival, Juuk.
The SPLM said that Malakal’s violence was a result of the North’s directives.
"We in SPLM have details of a plan by the NCP to overthrow the government of south Sudan before July," said the SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum to journalists yesterday.
"The NCP has been creating, training, supplying and arming militia groups in southern Sudan with the aim to destabilize and overthrow the government," Amum said.
"This plan is being overseen by the President of the Republic ... himself." he added without giving details.
But Gosh said that SPLM’s accusations to Khartoum are based on intel that is a "fiasco". He further revealed that regional and international players are trying to pressure the SPLM to reverse its decision taken yesterday to suspend post-referendum talks in retaliation to the events in Malakal.
The NCP official stressed that his party will not beg the SPLM to come back to the negotiation table.
Amum had said that the SPLM will boycott the talks “until it [Khartoum] stops its policy for obstructing stability in South Sudan, and until after the [UN] Security Council’s investigation is concluded,”.
Gosh alleged that unnamed senior SPLA are supporting General Athor and referred to rumors in Juba that the renegade general along with VP Riek Machar are planning a coup against South Sudan president Salva Kiir. He further claimed that the SPLA committed ’genocide’ in the South.
Machar has been opposed to a military solution to Athor’s rebellion saying he preferred a peaceful dialogue saying it is the best way to avoid a tribal war that would engulf the whole of Jonglei state and spread to other states.
The NCP official warned that the North will not stand with its hand tied behind its back if the SPLM attempts to undermine the accomplishments of the North.
The South is set to officially become the world’s newest state next July after Southerners voted overwhelmingly to in favor of independence in January’s referendum.
The NCP recognized the outcome earning praise from the international community which feared that the North would seek to undermine the self- determination vote.
However, a series of deadly clashes in the South and border region of Abyei has raised fears that the new state would be marred with instability and tribal tensions.