KHARTOUM – Former opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLA-IO) chief of staff General Simon Gatwech Dual has promoted former SPLA-IO spokesman William Gatjiath Deng from the rank of Brigadier General to the rank of Lieutenant General.
In a brief social media Facebook statement seen by Sudans Post, Gatjiath said he was promoted to the rank on August 3rd 2021, the day senior opposition commanders met in Magenis under the chairmanship of General Gatwech to attempt to remove First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny as chairman and commander in chief of the SPLA-IO.
“No word rather than to praise the Lord for guidance and congratulate the leadership of the SPLA (IO) [Kitgwang faction].This [promotion] happened on the 3rd August 2021, AD. Because of my happiness, I wish everyone a happy new year, 2022, AD,” Gatjiath wrote in a short message.
Gatjiath was a junior military officer with the rank of major in the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) which was known as Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) before the outbreak of the South Sudanese civil war in December 2013. He was promoted to the rank of colonel in 2014.
In 2015, First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny who was then a rebel leader appointed Gatjiath as the new spokesman of the SPLA-IO following the unexpected defection of Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang, then SPLA-IO spokesman who defected to join the SSPDF that year.
He was in 2016 promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and remained with the rank until the SPLA-IO split in August 2021 where senior SPLA-IO commanders led by General Simon Gatwech Dual, General Johnson Olony Thabo, and General Thomas Mabor Dhol, attempted to remove Machar as the leader of the SPLA-IO.