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SPLM-IO Commanders defect to SSPDF

By Kitab A Unango

Four top SPLM-IO officers led by Dr. Riek Machar have resigned from their roles and joined SSPDF under President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Those who resigned include SPLM-IO Deputy Chief of General Staff for Administration and Finance, Lt. Gen. James Koang Chol, Maj. Gen. Gatkhor Gatluak Koryom, Co-Chair of Joint Military Ceasefire Commission.

Also Maj. Gen. Wang Chany Thian Deputy Director General for National Security who was also a member of Joint Defense Board Technical Team as well as Maj. Gen. Joseph Yata Erasto, Commander of Division 2 B who served as a member of Joint Defense Board.

Speaking to the press yesterday in Juba, Lt. Gen. James Koang Chol, who led the group said they resigned because officers have been neglected in the recent Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity.

“Now we have to join the SSPDF so that we implement the peace. So this is what I can tell the public, from today onwards, we are no longer supporters of Dr. Riek Machar,” said Koang.

“We have resigned from his leadership. The officers are being neglected; the way the movement is being run, even the recent formation of the government is totally messed up,” he added.

Koang also said SPLM IO under Dr. Riek has been treated as family property given his (Riek’s) appointment of his wife, Angelina Teny as Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs.

The officers pointed out that the defection and resignation as key players in security arrangement would not affect nor violate cessation of hostility agreement calling on commanders in the fields to strictly stay up to the provision of the deal.

“We strongly urge our field commanders and their forces to remain calm and ensure that the permanent ceasefire holds in Greater Bahr El Ghazal and Equatoria in their current positions,” said Koang.

Without mentioning how many forces they have defected with to the government, they called on their forces to immediately report to the various designated cantonment sites and training centers for smooth implementation of the agreement.

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