JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition group, SPLA-IO, led by the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has denied that hundreds of its forces have joined the SSPDF under the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
Over the week, many senior SPLA-IO officers both in Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria regions came out to declare their intention to abandon Machar’s leadership and join Kiir’s SSPDF saying they have left Machar with hundreds of forces.
However, in a statement issued this morning, the SPLA-IO spokesman Brigadier General William Gatjiath Deng denied the claims by those senior military officers and said no hundreds of forces have defected as confirmed by SPLA-IO officers under the ground.
“The military office of information for SPLA (IO) has learned a fake political maneuver imaged within these couple of days, claiming that, hundreds of troops defected from both Malakal, Unity and Equatoria, said to have joined a fake “imaginary military forces” which have no presence or even a single base or barracks in the said places,” General Gatjiath said in the statement seen by Sudans Post.
“Maj.Kerbino Yai Pazale, the SPLA (IO) military communication officer for sector (2) has confirmed the reports with confidence that, no hundreds troops from the SPLA (IO) defected from sector (2) as being alleged by the frustrators but we already confirmed the (4) local defence force (LDF) officers, who were desperately finding a way to be promoted by the SPLA (IO) but after a long frustration, they opted to declare themselves to a fake imaginary forces which have no presence around here and they wanted to tarnish the reputation of the professional army on the ground.
“Yai Pazale, also denied the present on the ground a Col. with the assignment called “electronic officer” in sector (2) rather than military communication officer for sector (2) which I’m occupying, he said.
“In Allel training center, we know only three people defected with elusion (1) officer along with other (2) civilians whom he had gotten at the (UN-POC) at Malakal lingering around until he burst them with blackmailed words to join a non-formed force in the name of Cdr. Koang Chuol, Who has neither have a coy nor even a company at the ground.
“Col. Emannuel Malish Aquilino, SPLA (IO) communication officer for sector (8) confirmed the reports regarding the redefection of Brig.Gen Peter Gatbel Thow, as a minor issue as he left a lone without a bodyguard the same as he had defected from the regime’s forces in 2018 and declared to SPLA (IO) since he came, he didn’t manage to visit the ground, he just made himself busy in the towns until he made his way back to the same regime simply SPLA (IO) couldn’t entertain those opportunistic officers whose aim is to get assignments and promotions upon the arrivals.”