January 17, 2018 (JUBA) – South Sudanese Ambassador to Russia Telar Deng Wednesday denied reports claiming he had defected from the government of President Salva Kiir and joined the opposition groups.
- Telar Ring Deng (Photo credit: Moses Lomayat)
Recently there were reports circulating in the social media claiming that Ambassador Deng, an old friend of the South Sudanese president discussed ways to remove Kiir with a number of opposition officials in a meeting held in Nairobi at the house of the Rebeca Nyandeng de Mabior, widow of the late SPLM leader John Garang during the first week of January 2018.
“Rumor mongers will one day stop what they are spreading about my rebellion. I am still an Ambassador accredited to Russian Federation,” said the South Sudanese diplomat in a statement he extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
“If I want to rebel, there are two things a politician of my standing would do.(1) I will first submit my resignation as an Ambassador as stated above to HE the President of the Republic through the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Republic of South Sudan.(2) I will make a public statement stating reasons for my rebellion,” he further stressed.
Telar Deng was among the very few Dinka in 1991 to join a dissident SPLM group led by Riek Machar and Lam Akol calling for self-determination for South Sudan.
However, he was known for his special relationship with Kiir who appointed him as state minister at the Sudanese presidency and headed the office the of the First Vice President Salva Kiir from 2005 to 2007. He was known for his antagonism with “Garang boys” and worked to distance Kiir from them during the first years of the transition.
However, Deng diverged with Kiir who expelled him from the SPLM in November 2007 but he was reinstated as an SPLM member in August 2009. He was appointed legal adviser at the South Sudanese presidency in 2013.
In October 2014, he was named as the South Sudanese ambassador to Russia.
The rumours say he participated in a meeting including Lam Akol, former army chief of staff, Paul Malong Awan, former deputy chief of staff for logistics, Gen. Thomas Cirilo, former Western Equatoria Governor, Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro on January 4, 2018.
However, credible sources say several dissident politicians mentioned in the report were not in Nairobi at that time. Also, in a separate statement, Awan had denied the meeting