JUBA – Opposition commanders allied to First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny in the country’s capital Juba have issued a statement reaffirming their loyalty to the SPLM-IO leader saying the defection by General Simon Gatwech Dual was engineered by President Salva Kiir’s regime which it only referred to as a ‘peace partner’.
This comes two days after General Simon Gatwech Dual announced in a document which became to be known as ‘Kit Gwang Declaration’ the ouster of Dr. Riek Machar as leader of the opposition group and declaring himself the interim chairman and commander in chief of the SPLM/SPLA-IO.
Following the declaration, Machar issued a communiqué after a meeting of the SPLM-IO Political Bureau in Juba calling the defection a work of peace spoilers and assured supporters that the situation within the opposition group was under control despite alarms by observers that it could spiral out of control.
In a statement extended to Sudans Post this evening, the SPLA-IO command in Juba “reaffirmed the decision of the SPLM/A-IO Political Bureau in a meeting held on 4th August, 2021; as it is subordinate to the civilian rule of the movement under the leadership of H.E. Riek Machar Teny (PhD), Chairman and Commander in – Chief of the SPLM/A-IO.”
“The SPLA-IO denounce and condemn the Kitgwang Declaration in the strongest term possible and stand behind under the able leadership of the SPLM/A-IO, Chairman and Commander in Chief Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon,” the statement signed by the SPLA-IO spokesman Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel reads in part.
It added that the group “applauds the patriotic move of the Sectors and Division Commanders for openly denouncing the Kitgwang Declaration, and pledging their unwavering support to H.E. Riek Machar Teny (PhD). This proves that the failed coup attempt is zeroed to only few elements in Magenis, who succumb to pressure from the
It accused President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s regime of standing behind the defection of the opposition military chief pointing to a recorded phone call of former SPLA-IO spokesman General William Gatjiath Deng in which he revealed details of a June trip to Juba where he said he met General Akol Koor Kuc over how to remove Machar as the SPLM-IO leader and First Vice President.
“The SPLA-IO would like to point it out that the incident that is happening in Magenis is related to the incidences that happened in Maiwut, Kajo Keji, Maban, and Lieng due to encouraged and sponsored defections from the peace partner. This was evident in the recorded conversation of the former SPLA-IO Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng,” the statement said.
“The SPLA-IO would like to inform the people of South Sudan, the Region and the International Community that the delay in the unification of Command and the graduation of the forces are not failures of the SPLA-IO but the peace partners,” the statement further alleged.