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S. Sudan splinter rebel faction disowns peace deal
by Staff Writers
Khartoum (AFP) Aug 4, 2011

A group of South Sudanese rebels formerly linked to militia leader Peter Gadet, who agreed to a ceasefire this week, accused him on Thursday of taking government bribes and rejected the peace deal.

Gadet, one of the fledgling country's most powerful rebel leaders, returned to Juba on Wednesday, after secret talks with South Sudanese officials in Nairobi, to accept an amnesty offered by President Salva Kiir, his spokesman Bol Gatkouth said.

But in a statement signed by six rebels claiming to represent the high command of Gadet's South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, the splinter faction disowned his accord with the government, adding that it had not affected the group, which remained "well organised with 780 officers and a force of 5,000."

"We the undersigned members of the SSLM/A High Command are hereby alerting the people of South Sudan and international community that no ceasefire has ever been declared between our movement and government in Juba."

The rebels said Gadet only agreed to the ceasefire after he was offered $3 million (2.1 million euros) and a villa in Nairobi's suburbs, in return for his assistance in neutralising a planned coup against the president.

Gatkouth, Gadet's spokesman, dismissed the claims and accusations of the group, which he said had nothing to do with the SSLA.

He suggested they were "Nuer elements" within the Sudanese army, referring to one of South Sudan's main ethnic groups, and that they were supported by political opponents in Khartoum and by Sudan's military intelligence.

Juba has traditionally accused Khartoum of supporting the different southern rebel groups in a bid to destabilise the country, as it did during the devastating 1983-2005 civil war, claims rejected by the north.

The rebels, in their statement, said the original reasons for them taking up arms against the government remained.

"We took up arms because we realised that our nation had groomed a monster that would swallow generation after generation in terms of bad leadership and extreme level of corruption which poisons our values and tradition."

The group, led by James Gai Yoach and claiming to be based in Mayom County, in oil-rich Unity state, Gadet's stronghold, called for the formation of a legitimate broad-based government as a necessary condition for order and stability.

The newly independent country faces a host of daunting challenges, among the greatest of which are rampant corruption, which the president has vowed to confront, and the security threat from the numerous militias operating within its borders.

Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes between the army and different rebel groups in states across South Sudan so far this year.

In a further sign of the potential fragility of any peace accord like the one agreed on Wednesday, rebel leader Gatluak Gai, who was also based in Unity state, was shot dead last month shortly after reneging on a ceasefire agreement.

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Former rebel commanders given key posts in I Coast army
Abidjan (AFP) Aug 4, 2011 - Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has appointed to top military posts leaders from a controversial militia that helped him take power in a post-election standoff, his office said Thursday.

Fighters from the New Forces group of former rebels fought alongside Ouattara's Republic Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI) in the standoff with forces backing ex-president Laurent Gbagbo that left some 3,000 people dead.

A statement issued by the presidency said Ouattara had tapped several former New Forces commanders for key jobs, including Ousmane Cherif, accused by Human Rights Watch of ordering the kidnapping of those who backed Ouattara's political rival, Gbagbo.

Cherif, appointed as a deputy commander of the presidential security unit and considered a top Ouattara ally, is one of several former New Forces commanders accused of rights violations by the UN and rights groups.

A reshuffle of the west African nation's military is considered one of the toughest challenges facing Ouattara, who has said he wants to reunite the country following the protracted political crisis sparked by Gbagbo's refusal to accept defeat in a November election.

Ouattara took power following Gbagbo's arrest on April 11 in an operation by the FRCI, including some New Forces fighters also known as zone commanders or "Com-Zone".

"The (Ouattara) regime could not thank the 'Com-Zone' with anything other than prestigious posts," a Western security source told AFP.

The New Forces rebels tried and failed to oust Gbagbo in 2002.

After its foiled coup attempt, the group controlled much of northern Ivory Coast under the leadership of Guillaume Soro, now Ouattara's prime minister.

Gbagbo is under house arrest in the north of the country and Ouattara has said he will likely face both domestic and international prosecution for crimes committed during the five-month political standoff.

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South Sudan rebels declare ceasefire: spokesman
Khartoum (AFP) Aug 3, 2011
A South Sudan rebel group led by renegade general Peter Gadet has agreed to an unconditional ceasefire and is committed to talks on merging its troops with the army, its spokesman said on Wednesday. "We are declaring a ceasefire and we are also accepting the amnesty offered by the president as the basis of talks with the government of South Sudan," Bol Gatkouth told AFP, speaking on behalf o ... read more

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