Leaked document: South Sudan infiltrates Ethiopia’s Gambella political system
September 2, 2017
(South Sudan News Agency (SSNA)
South Sudanese government agents have penetrated Ethiopia’s Gambella region political system by bribing politicians, civil servants, and police officers, a document leaked to the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) has revealed.
The text, which was provided to the SSNA by a high-ranking SPLA-IO counterintelligence officer, details how Gambella political elites have been corrupted by Juba’s operatives. The document alleges that Gambella politicians who have been bribed by South Sudan’s agents prefer Taban Deng Gai over Dr. Riek Machar.
“Our finding indicates that Gambella political system has been successfully infiltrated by people who were sent to that region by Juba. We have identified names of politicians, police officers, and civil servants who have been bribed and act as silent supporters of Juba’s regime,” the document reads in part.
However, thorough analysis of the document conducted by the South Sudan News Agency showed that a man simply labelled in the leaked text as “SPLM/A-IO Juba faction representative in Addis Ababa” has been consistently communicating with a high-ranking Gambella government official and the two men have been talking about why the current Gambella President should be ousted.
The manuscript went further, alleging that the bribed Gambella politicians want the current Gambella President Gatluak Tut Khot replaced with another person of different ethnicity. After Juba’s representative made such a comment, the Gambella official then quickly shifted the conversation and praised Gatluak Tut, saying the Gambella President needs help so that he can succeed in his administration. The report also indicated that the Gambella official was somewhat nervous when “SPLM/A-IO Juba faction representative in Addis Ababa” suggested the idea to him.
“A senior Gambella government official was not happy when Taban Deng Gai representative suggested to him that Gambella President should be replaced with a non-Nuer. This Taban’s man in Addis Ababa even suggested to the official that the two men use other means of communication, such as private communication channels,” the text alleges.
The document also revealed that the “SPLM/A-IO Juba faction representative in Addis Ababa” once discussed ways with the Gambella official to help Taban’s SPLM/A-IO group control SPLM/A-IO headquarters, Pagak. Transcript of their discussion show that Taban’s representative openly discussed how he prepared a fake press statement in the third week of August, admitting in one of their conversations that he intentionally attributed the statement to Gambella’s President. The Juba’s representative in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa who seems proud of the bogus press statement he sent to the media tell the Gambella official that a lot of South Sudanese in the United States wrongly mistaken him for another man who resides in Washington, DC.
The SSNA investigations revealed that the representative wrote the statement on or about August 21.
The letter claiming that Gambella President Gatluak Tut ordered South Sudanese civilians who fled to Ethiopia side after fighting broke out in Maiwut and Pagak to return to their homes. The letter also claims that Gatluak wanted the frightening civilians to go back to Pagak and Maiwut because the government of South Sudan is now in full control of the areas and that they are safe under Juba-backed forces.
The SPLA-IO claims in the report that its counterintelligence unit has evidence linking certain Gambella officials to the bribery claims.
Some of the alleged bribed Gambella officials have acquired a permanent secret meeting place adjacent to former Gambella assembly building close to the main highway connecting Gambella and Addis Ababa, according the leaked document.
The South Sudan News Agency decided not to publish names of alleged bribed people because of the sensitivity of the manuscript.