JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) faction, led by General Simon Gatwech Dual, has confirmed that its spokesman, General William Gatjiath Deng, and General Gattiek Diar, have both defected from the group to join the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).
The two men arrived in South Sudan’s capital Juba on Friday morning and a senior opposition diplomat allied to Gatwech told Sudans Post earlier that the two men have not been in contact with the SPLM-IO Kitgwang leader General Simon Gatwech who has been calling for week, but got no respond from the defecting commanders.
In a statement extended to Sudans Post this evening, James Kalany Mamuon, the press secretary of General Gatwech confirmed the defection and that the two men have deserted their positions after travelling from Khartoum to Juba without informing the leader of the SPLM-IO Kitgwang faction which is currently in peace talks with the government.
“The leadership of SPLM/SPLA-IO Kitgwang would like to inform its members and the public that it confirms the desertion of the abovementioned Generals, who happened to have left Khartoum to Juba today, Friday, January 14th 2022. Their desertion did not come as a surprise to any of us, as the two generals expressed a change in behavior and thoughts towards SPLM-IO Kitgwang since their arrival in Khartoum,” Mamuon said in the statement.
“We would like to assure our members that the decision taken by the two Generals will not affect the interest and determination of our movement in achieving its course. Due to their desertion, we urge our former military spokesman to hand over the documents and the stamps since he is no longer our military mouthpiece,” he added.
He further said that the group “reassures our members and peace loving people of South Sudan that we are committed to bringing peace in South Sudan.”