17 February 2013

South Sudan Governor Warns Against Coup Attempts

Juba — The governor of South Sudan's Western Equatoria state has warned citizens against any attempt to overthrow the legitimately elected government in the country through a coup d'état.

Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro raised rumours about an attempted coup d'état in Juba at the recently concluded Greater Equatoria conference held in the capital.

"This rumour is affecting people's initiatives and the potential to develop the new country," he said.

The Greater Equatoria region in the new nation comprises of Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria.

Bakosoro, the only independent candidate elected as governor during the 2010 gubernatorial election, also questioned why the Greater Eqautoria populations have remained silent over coup rumours, which have been circulating widely in the country since last year.

"We hear there are conspiracies to overthrow the legitimate government of the Republic of South Sudan. My question is, as Equatorians, have we raised our voice to denounce the rumours?" he asked.

"Do we have any decisions or say in our region? Can we come up vigorously and boldly to counter any rumour of potential aggression against our government?"

Last year, amidst widespread rumours of an attempted coup, South Sudanese president Salva Kiir warned that the international community would not recognise anyone who overthrows his democratically elected government. A number of senior military officials allegedly behind the plot were subsequently arrested and detained. The army, however, said the arrests had nothing to do with the alleged coup plot.

In his remarks, the governor also urged the Equatorian population to defend the truth and take the current leadership to task on the fate of Abdalla Raham Sule, a South Sudanese opposition leader arrested and detained for rebelling against the government.

"Have we raised any motion to ask the government about the case and fate of Abdalla Rahan Sule? It is time to talk and defend the truth," he said.

While addressing the two-day conference in Juba, the governor said the government should consider insecurity as its major threat and leave no stone unturned in its efforts to curb conflict.

He said any individual or group of individuals attempting to create conflict in South Sudan should be dealt with according to the law.

"There is need for justice for all without fever," he emphasised.

The Western Equatoria governor further reminded the Equatorians of their contribution during South Sudan's liberation war, saying the long struggle by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/ Army (SPLAM/A) succeeded largely because of the "enormous" contribution made by Equatorians.

"With this excellent reputation, let us all unite and be alert that Equatoria is not used [by] trouble-makers to cause turmoil, Bakosoro said, while appealing to citizens to give peace a chance.

The two-decade civil war, ended through a 2005 peace deal, and was largely fought by the Arab Muslims in the north and Christian South Sudanese. An estimated 2.5 million people reportedly lost their lives in the south, with nearly four million displaced.

Meanwhile, the governor strongly advocated for the creation of a standing committee at the conference, saying previous meetings have not yielded results due to the absence of such a body to monitor, support, supervise and evaluate the resolutions of the Equatoria conference.

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