Machar’s group claims high-level defections engineered by Kiir
South Sudan's main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by the country’s First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar has accused its peace partner, Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM), led by President Salva Kiir of sponsoring high-level defections in its rank and file.
JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by the country’s First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar has accused its peace partner, Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM), led by President Salva Kiir of sponsoring high-level defections in its rank and file.
This comes a week after the defection of Gen. Johnson Kuol Gai, former military governor of the opposition Phow state, coupled with the August 3rd Kit-Gwang declaration in which General Simon Gatwech Dual attempted to remove Machar as the grou0p’s leader.
SPLA-IO spokesman Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel claimed all these defections were enticed by money and vehicles made easily available by President Kiir’s group.
Lam who spoke to reporters following a high-level SPLA-IO security meeting in Juba on Thursday claimed that the ruling SPLM party is working to disorganize the movement in a bid to impede the implementation of security arrangements stipulated in the 2018 peace deal.
“We are aware that there have been series of defections that have been happening within this period of time, starting with the declaration of Kit-Gwang, and now, we also have Gen. Johnson Kuol Gai, who was a member of JTSC, who also defected to the government,” Lam said.
Lam said the defections are a result of delays in the implementation of security arrangements.
“We came to Juba in December 2018, and things are not moving very well and every single time we move two steps in front, we get stuck or even move back. So the steps are not moving forward,” Lam said.
“This is intentional, we always called it lack of resources here and there but we know it is intentional. It is meant to disorganize the SPLA-IO so that a peace agreement can drag feet. We called it to sponsor defections because you are promised money, vehicles, and resources and if you see that you are not getting money here (SPLA-IO) then you have to move to the other side,” Lam added.
He claimed the SPLA-IO defectors were enticed by gifts such as money and cars.
“When you go to that side, of course, you are given that money and yet we complained that we don’t have resources to implement the security arrangement and Gen. Johnson Kuol Gai has V-8 including Hon. James Kok Ruea, they have been given money by the team they defected to and if you complained that there is no money then where is this money coming from?” he said.
“Technically, this is meant to delay the agreement and we (SPLA-IO) are not going to discourage anyone from going to the other side. We are here to implement the peace agreement and this peace agreement is very important for this country,” he added.
He said the movement is going to stop anybody from the party.
“We can’t stop anyone from leaving the SPLA-IO going to the other side but if you are going in goodwill then that is good but if you going because you just want to get money then what is the use of liberation and making this country a better nation,” he said.
“All we want is to move this country forward and for those who still want to go to the other side, we are asking them to leave as soon as possible even if we are going to be left with very few individuals, we are ready to stand and correct each other to move forward knowing that this is a very strong team that wants reform in this country,” he added.
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