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Eritrea Slams South Sudan Rebel leader Riek Machar

Warm greetings between long-time friends and former freedom fighters, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir Mayardit, during Kenya's Jubilee Celebrations in December of 2013. 

Eritrea Slams South Sudan Rebel Leader Riek Machar

On the 26th of February, John Prendergast of the US lobby group Enough and a well known Ethiopian regime supporter, gave a false statement before the US Congress' Subcommittee on Africa. He said:

“South Sudan’s eruption has threatened to regionalize the war in ways not seen since the 1990s. On the one hand, Uganda has overtly intervened militarily in support of Juba’s government. On the other hand, allegations are increasing that both Eritrea and Sudan are covertly providing support to the South Sudanese opposition forces, though firm evidence has yet to emerge. Sudan’s history of supporting some of the ringleaders of South Sudan’s armed opposition is deep, and South Sudan supported Sudanese rebels are alleged to be siding militarily with Juba’s forces in areas near the border of the two countries. Both countries still remain deeply interconnected and in many ways interdependent, and neither can be at peace if its neighbor is at war. Ethiopia has strongly warned Uganda to pull out its forces, with an unknown “or else” attached.”

Predictably, Prendergast does not disclose why he believes the unsubstantiated allegations are worth investigating or where they came from (hint, Ethiopia!). His allegations are completely divorced from the reality in South Sudan. But as a lobbyist, getting the facts right isn't necessarily important; persuading U.S. officials to do the bidding of his client (Ethiopia), is.

What Prendergast conveniently didn't tell the Congressional Subcommittee on Africa is Eritrea has been one of the biggest outspoken critics of Riek Machar. This point was made clear when President Isaias Afwerki's held an interview with state media on the 9th of February 2014. He said:

"Our stand is crystal clear. What is said in relation to the tribal problems in South Sudan is nonsense. It is really surprising that Riek Machar stayed that long in the leadership. After Eritrea became an independent state, that is, since we became involved in the issues concerning South Sudan, especially from mid 1990s onwards, John Garang used to assert that the concerns in South Sudan (the demand for autonomy) could only be addressed keeping the unity of Sudan in mind. At that time, Machar's strong belief was reverse - the autonomy of South Sudan could only be possible if South Sudan becomes independent state. Hence at that time, there were two different perspectives. Machar's selfishness and narrow-mindedness is beyond measure. Then after some time, Machar went to Sudan and started to preach the reverse by reciting the motto: 'Peace from within'. Such contradiction is very shameful."

Even before criticizing Machar on national TV, Eritrea was transparent about their support for President Kiir since the early stages of the conflict. During a 3-day working visit to Eritrea in January, Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afewerki announced their political support for the Juba administration.

To their credit, South Sudan understands these false rumors being circulated by lobbyists and anti-Eritrean pseudo-journalists, are bogus. Last week, President Kiir sent a letter with his visiting Presidential envoy to Asmara that read:

"Eritrea is a true, consistent friend of  South Sudan; we are determined to cement relations." 

On his part, President Isaias reassured the South Sudanese Presidential envoy that "Eritrea's commitment, support to the people, government of South Sudan is unwavering."

While the governments of South Sudan and Eritrea know these false rumors being circulated are part of Ethiopia's never ending war strategy to harm Eritrea and its people, some citizens in South Sudan, who are frustrated by the conflict, have taken Prendergast's lies at face value and began to threaten Eritreans in the town of Bor.

"Debesay, who is an Eritrean by origin says that he and his wife have been threatened over the last week by local people in Bor who claim Eritrea is aiding Machar’s rebels by providing them with arms and ammunition."

To combat the disinformation, a government source said the Eritrean ambassador to South Sudan, Mr. Girmai Gebremariam, has appeared on South Sudan state TV to dismiss these false rumors, and to remind the viewers that Eritrea's support for the people and government of South Sudan is unyielding.

Ambassador Girmai is right. Since independence, Eritrea has always supported South Sudan and its people. In the 1990s, Eritrea trained many SPLA fighters, sent military equipment and Eritrean troops to secure their political independence. As a thank you, the South Sudanese government has partnered with Eritrean businesses, and has kept close ties with Asmara. Therefore, it would make no rational or economic sense for Eritrea to harm this relationship.

So who is supporting Machar?

It is not clear who is supporting Machar or if anyone is supporting him at all. But if we look at the few clues available, all signs seem to point to Ethiopia. Machar, who is an ethnic Nuer, has close ties with Nuers in Ethiopia. If Ethiopia is supporting Machar, then this wouldn't be the first time the Ethiopian regime has sided with Nuer militias over other Nilotic ethnic groups in the region.

During the Anuak massacre in 2003, in which the Ethiopian regime killed over 400 Anuak people, Ethiopian Defense Forces partnered with Nuer militias to shoot and kill unarmed Anuaks, including women and children. Even today, the Ethiopian regime uses Nuer militants to spy and conduct raids against the Anuak populations in the Gambela region of Ethiopia.

Perhaps the biggest inking the Ethiopian regime is backing Machar came when Ugandan forces entered South Sudan at the request of the Juba government. Only one African country was adamantly opposed to this: Ethiopia. The Ethiopian regime strongly warned Uganda to pull out its forces, “or else”. Although the Ethiopian regime didn't specify what the "or else" threat was, it did show it was willing to jeopardize its relations with a friendly country like Uganda over it.

South Sudan's conflict could be seen as an economic and political opportunity for the regime in Addis Ababa. For the Ethiopian regime, sending troops into South Sudan means more military aid from the West, and more political clout to continue to violate international laws in the region. It could also be a way for the regime to deflect attention from its deteriorating human rights issues by presenting itself as a willing vassal for the West to conduct crises management in the region.

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Eritrea Slams South Sudan Rebel leader Riek Machar Reviewed by Admin on 12:03 AM Rating: 5


  1. Very well written and informative. The funny thing with these, so called analysts is, how can Sudan (let´s leave Eritrea aside for a second) who´d dependent on South Sudanese oil passing its way for income, decide to support Machar and prolong the conflict, hence losing the good dollars? It doesn´t even make sense economically to do that.
    Secondly, this false image of Ethiopia being at the forefront for black liberation and nonsense like that must finally be broken and africans, as Ugandans in this case, and others should come to this realization, the sooner the better. Ethiopia, in an individual analogy is nothing but a vicious slave willing to kill his brothers and sisters, just to satisfy the master. A very pathetic country indeed.

  2. Enemy book and foolish way.The truth will come to open soon and the bad boy of Africa will wear its shame once again.

  3. The stance and robust solidarity of the people and Government of Eritrea on the cause of the people of South Sudan is an indelible historical fact that is embossed on granite. In the event, it does not require third-party testimony or validation; nor can it be misconstrued for sinister purposes. Eritrea’s unfaltering historical stance was never adulterated by whimsical considerations in response to fluid or changing developments and realities.

    Furthermore, the people and Government of Eritrea went beyond mere recognition and endorsement to earnestly cultivate strategic ties with South Sudan and to extend their modest contributions when the people of South Sudan chose independence in exercising their right to self-determination, and, as they embarked on the challenging, nation-building, process to create a sovereign State that fulfills their aspirations. Again, Eritrea’s unequivocal stance in regard to the new realities was not influenced by, and occurred irrespective of, the factors and protagonists that impinged on the unfolding developments.

    Indeed, the people and Government of Eritrea have and remain committed to constructive engagement with the people and government of South Sudan as the latter formulated their primary priorities and charted out a road-map for a sovereign State and as they begun the long and arduous journey to rehabilitate their country devastated by a long war and to lay the foundations for a stable and prosperous nation.

    Unfortunately, the people of South Sudan have not been enabled to implement the road map they have charted out in a congenial and serene environment. As it happened, sinister machinations designed to stoke and manage the crisis have catapulted the problem to confounding regional and international forums under the mantle of “benign facilitation” instead of encouraging the people of South Sudan to resolve their own problems themselves. This misguided approach is fraught with risks of exacerbating the problem instead of preventing or containing it. It may well be designed to plunge and embroil the people of South Sudan in an endless and meaningless internal strife and conflict thereby exposing them to the plundering of their resources while stifling their developmental opportunities. The Government of Eritrea is cognizant of the dangerous consequences that this would entail. As such, it has underlined its reservations and communicated its opposition and clear stance.

    On the other hand, the purveyors of lies and “crises incubation” routinely resort to manufacturing outrageous lies against Eritrea principally in order to divert attention from and conceal their subversive acts described above. To this end, they have accused the Government of Eritrea, at times, for “supporting the Republic of Sudan in the battles at Higlig” and at other times “for supporting the Yaw-Yaw”. Today they are peddling a preposterous lie accusing the Government of Eritrea “for supporting Machar”. No one is surprised by this outrageous lie.

    The Government of Eritrea again stresses that it will not be drawn into this cheap gimmick whose primary sources and ulterior objectives it knows only too well. But it calls on all pretentious “benefactors” who shed crocodile tears while profiting from the internecine killings, displacement and plight of the people of South Sudan to take their hands off and allow the people of South Sudan to resolve their own problems and lay the foundations for building their nation and governmental institutions.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    10 March 2014

  4. The Eritrean government and people know very well the out come of war and therefore, we are peace demanding people with our neighbors and others too.

  5. abey aleka zeybeluwo abzi aleku belom :P Wedi berad focus !!

  6. ትዕቢቴኛ ኢሳያስ ዓይኑ ሕንዚዝ ክሳብ ዝመስል ምስ ሰተየ ብዙሕ ካብቲ ክዓቅሮ ዝፍትን ትንቢቱ በጨቅ የብል ኢዩ• ሓንቲ ካብተን ዝደጋግማ ዘርባ "ምስዚ ፈገር ህዝቢስ ክንረአአ ኢና ፡ዓዲ መቃድሾ አንተዘይ ጌረያ ኣይኣነን ኢየ " ትብል ኢያ• አቲ ወላድ መኻን ክሳብ ዘኸውን ዘዝወለዶም ሰውራ ንምዕዋትን ልኡላውነት ሃገር ንምውሓስን መሪቑ ዘፋነወ፡ለዋህ ሓላል ህዝቢ ኤርትራስ ፈገር ተባሂሉ• አንተ አቲ መቓድሾ አንተዘይጌረያ ዝብል ፈኸርኡ አሞ ኤርትራ ምስ ሶማሊያ ተሰሪዓ ብማዕከናት ዜና ካብ ትጽዋዕ ኣይወሓደን•
    አቲ ዝገርም ከኣ ሃገር ንምድሓን ሆ ኢልና ኣብ ክንዲ ንለዓል ነቲ ፈገራግር ስለ ዝኮንኩም ከጽንተኩም ኢየ አንዳበለ ዝፍክር ዘሎ ዝድግፉ ምህላዎም ኢዩ• ንሱ ትጽቢት ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ንምኩላፍ ኣብ ሕልሙ ኣሎ፡ ንሕና ከኣ ኣብ ነንሕድሕድና ቆይቂ ኣቃሪጽና ሕልሙ ሕልሚ ቀትሪ ንምግባር ሳቦያ ኪንብል ይግባአ•

  7. Test Woyanay!!!

  8. Yes you are right, abey aleka zeybeluka abzi aloku! haile focus!!
    Stick to your website quondaf wayane!

  9. Selamat madote, please dont quate the recycled garbage about one debessai with ethiopian passport as an affected Eritrean "drink seller" worth over 200k U.S. dollar out of such a small shack? The writtings are there for all to see. The other ethiopian was put as a modest man worth a 100k plus U.S. dollars and a victim of mistaken identity, give me a break! What is even more sad is the over 10k people that are killed and a million displaced as the reasult of the west's evil design. Ethiopia is the one behind machar and the world over knows it, kiir has shown the political maturity of beating both the west and its servants on their own game by accepting to go to addis and seat and talk with the devils, including the juniors. America wants all the resources of all africa and the atlantic and indian ocean with the red sea as its water ways. Just draw a line and see how its all connected.

  10. zeragi am I Weyane too? Your name tells it all Stupid! Do you think Eritreans will stop writing on this web site because you call them Weyane. It is a real dis-service to Eritrea, to have you own Madote.

  11. The real reason behind south Sudan crises is TPLF.What weyane has been trying to keep in the dark for ages,is now out in the open. It is not new things.
    when terrorism come from USA friends and its allies, terrorism is welcome and put the lid on.
    Mikhael Mihretaeb

  12. Iran hired propagandist! Did he utter a word or two about the kidney harvesting business run by HGDF generals? Did he as why the hundreds of thousands of Eritrean youths are leaving the country risking the shoot to kill order of the thug, the maniac Wedi Berad? Did he ask why the victims of Lampadusa were not allowed to be buried in their county? Did the pseudo journalist ask why the reform seekers G15 are deliberately rotting and dying in Era-Ero, with out due process for over 12 years?
    Why was Nayzghi Kifelu body denied proper burial in his country?
    The tyrant (wedi 40), his cult HGDF and the enormous crimes he is perpetrating against Eritreans will soon end! We will eradicate HGDF not only from the power but also from history!
    Wedi Berad - harE Kelbi - the brainless, barbaric, alcoholic thug Yitealoooo!

  13. Give a dog a bad name and hang him (just for Weyane)
    Deqi Eri, the weyane regime has been bombarded us lies after lies for the past decade. See for example, Eritrea supported Al-Shebab, Eritrea planned to bomb the OAU building in Addis Abeba and Iranian commando has military base in Assab. Also, the new allegation that Eritrea supports Reik Machar. Because of all these baseless allegation the USA with her servants country imposed unjust sanction on my beloved Eritrea.Since the new document about the unjust sanction of Eritrea leaked, the weyane regime became very frantic to cover her scaby ass. Nowadays, the international community seem to realize that they were duped by weyane lies. Once when all the lies exposed to the media, the international community will brand weyane liar of 21st century until the end of her power.

  14. Mr. ፈገር፡ the comment you put is unfounded your own foundation. As usual to beg and lie is a part of ልቢ ትግራይ፡

  15. Are you one of the smuggler? How much money were you paid to do that? It is good to know that you are a hired journalist of woyane. Yes I know you are a defector. I admit you are a brainless, barbaric, and alcoholic thug gambler living in ghettoes too. It is not a surprise you will soon be eradicated not only from woyane thugs but from history! WoW!!!!!!!Tell me who you are and your IQ is.
    The interview was done in 2011.

  16. Are you as such a stupid person? Do you think woyanes will stop writing in shabias website? Not of course, they will comment until they are removed from history.

  17. PIA is doing an interview in 2011 about Eritrea and its development not about himself. If you don't wish to know and listen the interview about Eritrea and its development Test yourself who you are?
    Why don't ask yourself the Iranian journalist? Then you can give as feed back about that.
    In regard too human trafficking ask the Eritrean men accused of smuggling.

  18. Another failure and a head on collusion with regional diplomatic position . IGAD is preparing send troops to S.Sudan.... this is supported even by Sudan( because it is expected to keep the oil fields safe and oil flow to Sudan).... the rebels are not happy with that.....need a harbor in the region. Poor Eritrea will pay for the next S.Sudan controversy. By standing alone against her neighbors at the cost of her people. There are times where you just keep quite and do your job if you are responsible for your people, which Eritrean leaders do not get for reason.

  19. Zeri? Where did you hear that Eritrea is making noise against IGAD? Why you think the oil is for sudan? Do you know who is pumping and exporting the oil from the sudan? I think you should follow your own advise and keep quite until you have clear information, these is bigger than your blame Eritrea for everything and anything ailing the neighbours and the region. Eritrea is an oasis of peace in a trabouled region.

  20. Are you talking about Eritrea a country which I don't know? Eritrea is one of the Africa countries located in East Africa. Eritrea is known as island of peace in the Horn Africa. Eritreans are not trouble makers even our enemies know that. We know war and the sequences of war we are peace demanding people for those who wants to make peace with us and a throne to our enemies.

  21. I agree Eritrean's want to make peace and we deserve that, what i do not agree is the regime in Eritrea do not want peace. zeragi..I am talking about my country Eritrea. If there are two EritreaS may be we are taking about two different EritreaS. By the way Eritrea is different when you look at from diaspora.

  22. Uganda is raping Congo along with Rwanda they are not heroes

  23. I do not think your skull contains enough working neurons to possess basic understanding. All you did was vent the tyrant (Wedi 40) style, and we are witnessing where that is leading him. Any reader is mindful the interview was done in 2011 but you should have understood the pseudo journalist has never written or presented as a new the suffering of
    Eritreans. As sectarian (Ayatolah) mouthpiece, your guy is trying to give the tyrant a free exposure to do what he always does: hallucinate.


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