JUBA — South Sudan businessman Thalage Wal who was dragged to court by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny for defamation has now declared his decision to join the main armed opposition faction led by former SPLA-IO military chief General Simon Gatwech Dual claiming Machar has continued to order his forces to attack General Gatwech.
Thalage in September claimed that Machar had refused to return thousands of dollar in loan, but ended up in a police jail after the First President’s legal team dragged him to court for allegedly defaming the main armed opposition leader after the businessman allegedly failed to present any evidence to back up his claim.
In a statement, Thalage who represented SPLM-IO in various peace mechanisms in the revitalized peace agreement before his defection to the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) with former SPLA-IO deputy chief of staff Gen. Koang Chuol said he has joined General Gatwech along with 184 former SPLM/A-IO officers .
“On behalf of 184 members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army In-Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), we declare our full support and allegiance to the SPLM/A-IO led by the interim Chairman and Commander- In-Chief General Simon Gatwech Dual and his deputy General Johnson Olony Thabo with effect from 23rd October 2021,” Thalage said in a statement extended to Sudans Post.
The former DPLM-IO officials commended Gen. Gatwech for “the brave decision and position” to support the “the full implementation of the Revitalised Peace Agreement, in particular Chapter II: Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements as the only way to achieve a lasting peace, security, stability and sustainable development in South Sudan.”
He said “It is only through the full implementation of the Security Arrangements for South Sudan to have a unified Conventional Army that will serve/protect the people of South Sudan, defend the nation, protect vital national interests and fulfill national military responsibilities.”
The statement condemned Machar “for continually ordering his militias to attack SPLA-IO forces under Gen. Gatwech Dual in the Upper Nile and Jonglei states while holding the position of 1st Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan” which he said “is a clear violation of the permanent ceasefire which he signed on 27th June 2018.”
He urged the ceasefire monitors in South Sudan “to investigate and verify the violations of the ceasefire by Machar’s militias.”
He said alleged recent attacks prove that Machar is an “anti-peace and a warmonger who wants to retum country to war.”
He claimed that the main armed opposition leader is “using peace agreement money to buy amaments and send delegations to bribe, mobilise and recruit innocent Nuer people, especially youth who are living in refugee camps and in Nuer land to fight SPLA-IO forces under Gen. Gatwech, and to create division and inciting violence among Nuer people.”
He further expressed disappointment over “Machar’s failure, dictatorship, nepotism, maladministration and greed for tuming SPLM/A-IO as his family business and give people’s powers and positions to his family and relatives.”
“This is not the first time for Machar to betray and forget the very people who fought, protected and died for him,” he added.
He further said that they have rejected “to serve family business, but we choose the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
He claimed that the defectors are “Aware since 2016 Dr Machar has abandoned the vision and objectives of the SPLM/A-IO and left the Movement very extremely disorganised, confused and chaotic without clear and strong central command.”