JUBA — South Sudan main armed opposition commander General James Khor Chuol who defected in August to join President Salva Kiir Mayardit has this afternoon met the South Sudanese head of state and condemned, among others, what he calls a tribal hatred by Machar towards the government of President Salva Kiir.
General Khor defected in August from Dr. Riek Machar following the split in the SPLM-IO after an attempt by General James Gatwech Dual to remove Machar as the chairman and commander in chief of the main armed opposition group that sparked deadly violence in northern Upper Nile.
General Khor last month returned to Juba to prepare for integration of his forces into South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), and also to meet President Kiir to discuss other essential issues affecting his soldiers, according to close allies to him.
“His Excellency President Salva Kiir Mayardit received and met with the delegation of Longechuk Declaration of Malual Gahoth, Longechuk County and Maiwut County, Upper Nile State who declared their allegiance from SPLM/A-IO under Dr Riek Machar Teny to R-TGoNU under the leadership of H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardit on 9th August 2021,” the presidency said in a statement this evening following the meeting.
The three commanders who declared themselves to join Kiir beside Khor are Maj. Gen. Kang Riek Diew and Maj. Gen. Lol Nguoth Chom plus the former opposition Commissioner of Longechuk County Hon. Wiyual Kun Gatluak.
General Khor said during an address to SSBC that “they left SPLM/A-IO under Dr Riek Machar because they wanted to set their people free from the tribal hatred and sectional conflicts projected on them by SPLM/A-IO under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar.”
The top opposition commander further tressed that they “are the one governing the civilians and soldiers at the ground and currently there is no more SPLM/A-IO in Gajaak areas and there is no going back and they are for peace, stability and their people need services delivery.”
They claimed without evidence that “our people have suffered enough under the leadership of Dr Riek Machar and assured H.E the President that we are fully for peace, stability and development for their people.”
For his part, Kiir said “all the tribes in South Sudan are my tribes and they are all my children and people” urging “that nobody should fight his brother again and emphasised that I will not accept any person who wants to fight his brother just because he is from another tribe.”
Kiir then “urged the people to collectively join hands to fight tribalism and focus on bringing our people together and move the country forward, in terms of development, growth and prosperity.”