Cover Story

Senior officer defected to Machar SPLA-IO Army

By Morris Dogga

The Army has confirmed that one of its senior military officers has defected and joined the main armed opposition movement, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by the former First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.

The SPLA official spokesperson, Brigadier-General Lul Ruai Koang, who was addressing the media at the army headquarters yesterday, described the officer who defected few days ago as “a criminal” whom he said defected because he was escaping justice.

Lul said the fugitive officer was facing justice, the reason(s) he decided to escape. Brigadier Lul disclosed the name of the officer as Lieutenant Colonel Chan Garang Lual.

Brigadier Lul disclosed that the SPLA officer who defected was about to be dismissed from the army for a string of crimes he allegedly committed. Lul said Lt. Col. Lual committed a series of crimes dating back to 2003, when he was stationed in Aweil in the former Northern Bahr El Ghazal State.

Some of the crimes committed by the defected officer were said to be; rape and he was also charged and sentenced to death by firing squad, but he managed to escape from detention.

The SPLA spokesperson claimed that the officer who was in detention defected   because of what he described as poor detention facilities which facilitated the defection of Lt. Col. Lual.

Lul further said after Lt. Col. Lual escaped jail, he became a cattle rustler where he stole a number of heads of cattle from the Misseriya herders. He added that after Lt. Col. Lual was found to be committing all these crimes, he was summoned to the general headquarters of the SPLA for further investigation.

“A disciplinary committee was set up, he was found guilty and all the crimes he had committed were reflected in the verdict and a decision was made that he would be dismissed from the SPLA without benefits,” Brigadier Lul divulged.

He said Lt. Col. Chan suspected that the findings were not going to be in his favour and that was why he managed to escape.

“Chan had no any other reason of defecting from the SPLA apart from escaping justice. The criminal charges he got involved in for the last fourteen years ranged from murder, cattle theft and commandeering of civilian vehicles,” Lul added.

Brig. Lul disputed reports that Chan defected with over 200 soldiers, saying that Lt. Col. Chan Garang Lual escaped with only one bodyguard and took only two AK47 rifles.

Lt. Col. Lual was quoted by some media claiming that he had defected with about 200 soldiers and that he was ready to fight the government in Juba.  He was also quoted saying that he defected because he wanted the former Army General Chief of Staff Paul Malong who was reported to be under house arrest released.

 

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