Mass defection hits SPLM-IO as high-ranking officers join SSPDF

Military defectors headed by by Brigadier General Peter Gatbel Thow |Photo: Thessherald

August 7, 2020 (Thessherald)–A group of SPLA-IO military commanders headed by Brigadier General Peter Gatbel Thow has defected from the opposition and joined the government of South Sudan under President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

In a statement sent to The South Sudan Herald, the group accused the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In-opposition of mishandling the internal affairs of the movement.

“Today, August 7, 2020, I tender my resignations from the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A-IO) under the Leadership of Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon due to the following reasons:

1: The SPLM/A-IO is turned into family enterprise by Dr. Riek Machar and his wife Madam Angelina Jany Teny and the recent ministerial appointments of Riek Machar family members to the Revitalized Government of Nationality Unity (R-TGONU) is a case in point.

2: The endless mass defections to the SPLM/SSPDF is caused by disorganisation, frustration and confusion within the ranks and files of the SPLM/A-IO.

3: Promotion of family members and associates who lack military experiences and training in the expenses of career military officers and NCOs.

With the above following reasons, I therefore tender my resignation along with my servicemen in uniform with immediate effect and declared my allegiance to South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) under the Commander In Chief of the SSPDF and Supreme Commander of the regular Organized forces His Excellency General Salva Kiir Mayardiit, President of the Republic of South Sudan.”

The officers pointed out that their decision to join the Kiir administration is part of the desire for peace and unity in the country.

“My joining along with my comrades is driven by my pure desire for peace, stability and reconciliation among the people of South Sudan.”

“Finally, as a committed SPLA Officers who joined the Liberation struggle in 1985 and attended Cadet school and commissioned as an officer in Shield 3 and continued to be in the SPLA from that time until 2016 and served as deputy Director of Legal Affairs in Bilpam GHQs in Juba, I have decided to return to my mother SPLA.”

The officers and their subordinates declared their loyalty in the capital, Juba, after the government facilitated their dispatch from Yei.

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