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KHARTOUM - 16 Oct 2019

Ukel allowed to leave Juba after confinement

Veteran Politician Joseph Ukel [Photo: Gurtong]
Veteran Politician Joseph Ukel [Photo: Gurtong]

Veteran politician Joseph Ukel arrived in Sudan on Monday from South Sudan after being confined for months in the capital Juba. 

Ukel had been placed under confinement since he was transported by National Security officials from Wau to Juba in August, following accusations of backing rebels in Western Bahr el Ghazal region.

Ukel, who is the leader of the United Sudan African Party (USAP), told Radio Tamazuj from Khartoum on Wednesday that the Director-General of the Internal Security Bureau allowed him to leave the country.

Ukel further said he flew to Khartoum to seek medical treatment. "I am now in Khartoum to seek treatment after General Akol Koor allowed me to leave Juba. After my treatment, I will return to the country to follow-up on the implementation of the peace agreement," he said.

The elderly politician, who is a signatory to the revitalised peace deal, said he has been released by National Security Service without charges.

"When I go back to Juba I will try to proceed to Wau," he said.

Ukel, who held various ministerial positions, including becoming the minister of general education, says outstanding issues in the peace deal need to be addressed.

"The parties to the peace agreement were given eight months to implement the pre-transitional period activities, and the peace agreement was again extended for six months, but nothing has been achieved so far," he explained.

According to Ukel, further dialogue and political will are needed to address all outstanding issues in the peace accord. "Even two weeks are enough for the parties to the peace agreement to resolve the issue of the unified army and the number of states if there is political will," he said.

President Salva Kiir, opposition leader Riek Machar and a number of other opposition groups signed the peace deal in September 2018, but they had been unable to create a unified army and determine the number of states since the deal was signed.

Amid mounting global pressure on South Sudan’s political leaders to form a unity government by 12 November, members of the United Nations Security Council will visit Juba on Sunday to put their weight behind the political process.