13th May 2021
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SSOMA returns to ceasefire monitors’ workshop after brief protest

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Friday, November 13, 2020

File: Government representative, Dr. Barnaba Marial and SSOMA's General Thomas Cirillo Swaka at Saint Egidio headquarters in Rome. | Credit |AFP or licensors)

The South Sudan Opposition Alliance has returned to the workshop in Rome after walking out on Tuesday to protest acts of violence in the country.

“I would like to inform the…people of South Sudan that the technical workshop is going on successfully and that both the government and SSOMA are cooperating in trying to enhance the process,”  the government delegation confirmed.

This week, SSOMA prematurely ended their participation in a seminar that was meant to include armed opposition groups in the ceasefire monitoring body.

It accused the government of violating the cessation of hostilities agreement, of which the government denied.

The National Salvation Front, a member of SSOMA and the SSPDF exchanged accusations over recent attacks in an area called Kerpeto in Lobonok County, Central Equatoria State.

NAS Spokesperson, Suba Samuel, claimed their forces killed nine government soldiers, while claimed that two opposition soldiers were killed during the clashes.

Both side insisted that they were acting in “self-defense.”

During the CTSSAM-VM meeting, SSOMA argued that “any attack on a member is an attack on the alliance” -prompting them to walk out of the workshop in protest.

However, the government delegation in Rome said the alliance was persuaded to return to the meeting yesterday.

“This morning they attended the workshop and we continued the dialogue discussing especially the details about the mechanism in which SSOMA will become a part of CTSSAM,” said Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, head of the government delegation.

SSOMA is a coalition of opposition groups led by Thomas Cirillo, Paul Malong, Pagan Amum, among others.

The holdout armed groups are not currently represented in the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, CTSSAM-VM.

The workshop is expected to end today.

“..it has been a wonderful discussion, and it is going on smoothly,” he concluded.

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