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06:45, 29 May 2017 Monday
12:18, 17 February 2017 Friday

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South Sudanese minister quits, joins opposition
South Sudanese minister quits, joins opposition

Gen. Duop Lam crosses over to exiled opposition leader Riek Machar's SPLM/IO movement

World Bulletin / News Desk

A South Sudanese minister resigned on Friday, declaring his allegiance to the opposition led by exiled former vice president Riek Machar.

South Sudan descended into chaos in December 2013, two years after gaining independence.

A power struggle within the country’s ruling SPLM party between President Salva Kiir and Machar led to the ruinous civil war

Gen. Duop Lam -- the country’s labor minister -- was one of 10 members of the armed opposition to be appointed to a senior position in a transitional government of national unity under the terms of an August 2015 peace deal.

In a statement, Lam described the current administration as a “partial government of national unity” and said he gave his “full allegiance and commitment” to the SPLM/IO movement led by Machar.

He has also spoken out against Kiir, who he accused of a plot to assassinate Machar during last July’s fighting which forced the opposition leader into exile.

Under the terms of the August 2015 peace deal, 30 ministerial posts were split between Kiir and Machar, as well as other opposition parties. It was under this deal that Machar attained the position of first vice president.

But, after fighting broke out, Machar fled the capital and Kiir appointed a replacement from Machar’s SPLM/IO party, laying bare fractures within both the administration and opposition.



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Libya extremist group Ansar al-Sharia announces dissolution
Libya extremist group Ansar al-Sharia announces dissolution

The Libyan jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia, which is linked to Al-Qaeda and deemed a terrorist organisation by the UN and United States, announced its "dissolution" in a communique published online on Saturday. Washington accuses the group of being behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi in which ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Ansar al-Sharia is one of the jihadist groups that sprung up in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, in the chaos following the death of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. They overran the city in 2014. East Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar earlier this month launched an offensive to oust jihadist fighters from their two remaining strongholds in Benghazi. In its communique Ansar al-Sharia said it had been "weakened" by the fighting. The group lost its leader, Mohammed Azahawi, in clashes with Haftar's forces in Benghazi at the end of 2014. Most of its members then defected to the so-called Islamic State group. Ansar al-Sharia later joined the Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, a local alliance of Islamist militias. At its zenith, Ansar al-Sharia was present in Benghazi and Derna in eastern Syria, with offshoots in Sirte and Sabratha, western Libya. The organisation took over barracks and other sites abandoned by the ousted Kadhafi forces and transformed them into training grounds for hundreds of jihadists seeking to head to Iraq or Syria.