SPLM-IO-told to stop using SSPDF as scapegoat

By Chany Ninrew

South Sudan peoples Defense Forces yesterday told the SPLM-IO to stop using the national army as scapegoat for their internal problems arising from squabbles within the party and in their own military and political wings.

This came after the SPLM-IO said that Gen. Moses Lokujo was under investigation for alleged disappearance of the three generals and also accused of forcing the community leaders and the chiefs who had visited him for peace to join his defection was under investigation.

Speaking to Juba Monitor on phone, the SSPDF Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said the chiefs and community leaders had willingly joined the defected General.

“SPLA-IO should stop using SSPDF as scapegoat for their internal problems arising from mismanagement of their military and political affairs,” Maj. Gen Lul said.

General Lokujo did not kidnap traditional chiefs but they willingly joined him as one of the surest way of consolidating peace from the grassroots and within,” Maj. Gen. Lul said.

Meanwhile  the deputy military spokesperson of SPLA-IO, who is also the press secretary of the Minister of Defense  Col. Lam Paul Gabriel  said their former military general Moses Lokujo who had recently defected to SSPDF was under investigation for the alleged disappearance of three SPLA-IO generals.

He however called on the SSPDF to continue with investigation despite his defection.

Lam revealed that the defection of Lokujo came at the time when he was brought to Juba for investigation on the alleged murder of three senior generals who were abducted on the 10th May 2020.

“When Lokujo was promoted above those three generals who were superior to him in command, there was this fear that they would joint Thomas Cirillo, so the leadership decided that they should be brought to SPLA-IO headquarters in Wunaliet for surveillance,” he said.

Lam also stated that when the generals were being taken to Wunaliet, the military command received information from General Lokujo that they were ambushed along the road and were taken by the forces of Thomas Cirillo.

“For sometimes we had believed that NAS was responsible for the kidnapping, but due to well-placed sources and narrations from family members of the disappeared, those generals were executed,” Paul stated.

According to Lam, the leaked information forced the leadership to put a committee in place to investigate Gen Moses Lokujo.

“So last month, he was brought to Juba with the help of some citizens for investigation, the investigation was still ongoing and we still have to ask many questions to give us evidence and we hadn’t yet concluded the investigation process when he disappeared in the middle here,”

“This was weird and suspicious because when you are being investigated for something you have not done, then you will wait for it until the end, this is a sign of fear and guilt but technically we haven’t reached the end of the investigation,” he stated.

Lam also argued that the defection of Moses Lokujo is not only an acceptance of guilt but also a way of avoiding justice.

Gen. Moses Lokujo was also accused of having abducted delegation of chiefs, community leaders who had visited him for peace dialogue in escort of another officer of SPLA-IO known as Col. Taban Samuel.

“On the 25th September, a delegation of chiefs from Kajokeji visited Gen. Moses to have a meeting on the issue of maintaining peace in the area, and he said; fine, you have come here and now you are not going back, I am taking you to meet directly with the President so that you get your right,” Lam said.

He also revealed that after the delegation was threatened, they had no choice but to come to Juba, adding that such is a criminal act which is abduction.

“We know that his defection to the SSPDF is his personal right and freedom of choice, but forcing people to defect with him is not right and especially bringing civilians against their will is a criminal act,” he added.

Lam said according to the peace agreement, anyone who defect while under investigation for crimes he/she has not committed should still be investigated.

“So we are asking the SSPDF to continue investigating him because the lives of those generals should not just go to waste,” said Lam.

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