SPLM/A-IO army vows to stick to peace, not war
Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, Deputy Military Spokesperson of the SPLM/A-IO (Photo: Sheila Ponnie).
By Sheila Ponnie
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) have committed to peaceful implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.
Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel, the Deputy Military Spokesperson of the SPLM/A-IO and a member of the Joint Defense Board (JDB) told journalists yesterday at a press conference in Juba that SPLM/A-IO military is committed in the implementation of the peace agreement.
This commitment comes in the wake of whether the government of National Unity will be formed on May 12 as stated by the September 12 peace agreement.
Col. Lam said even though politicians in the opposition have reservations in forming the next unity government in case the government has not agreed with the demand of six-month delay requested by Dr. Riek Machar, the army does not want war any more.
“In SPLA/M-IO we have wings; the political wing and military wing. Now the political wing made their decision that they will not be in the government now that is their decision. For us, as the military, we are not going to go back for war. Therefore, they will have to battle it among themselves. But for us it is very clear we are not going to go back to fight because this country needs peace and that is our decision in the military,” Gen Lam explained.
He added that their mission in Juba was to make sure that the provisions of the security arrangements were fully implemented as required by the Revitalized Peace Agreement.
“The military in the IO have made a decision that no matter what will happen whether there is going to be extension or not we are not going to fight because that is what other people already have in mind which is not right, we are here for peace,” Lam said.
He also briefed journalists about the current trends of the implementation of the security arrangements about the number of forces to be trained as VIP protection force.
He said the Joint Defence Board proposed 700 soldiers 350 from SSPDF and 350 from SPLA and SSOA, but noted that the SPLA-IO has reservations on the proposed number and command of VIP protection force.
“The Tiger Force is supposed to be a complete Division not only a battalion and their command to be relinquished to the JDB as stated in the R-ARCSS and these reservations were forwarded to the chair of the JDB for consideration,” he said.
Col. Lam said the SPLM-IO has called upon the Joint Defence Board to come up with a joint stand on the continuation of peaceful implementation of the Transitional Security Arrangement in order to give people hope in the country.