Feb 10th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —- A South Sudanese senior army officer, Major General Samuel Bidit Puot Abiath, a former rebel officer who was recently allied to Salva Kiir government defected last week and declared his allegiance to his former boss, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Chairman and commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/A(IO).
In his declaration of defection, General Abiath, as he is popularly known, accused the First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai of poor leadership skills, anger management, malpractices and conspiracies against his Nuer ethnic group.
“I have decided to return home for the following reasons, the SPLM/A(IO) under the leadership of the self-imposed First Vice President, General Taban Deng Gai, lacks a national agenda. The self-claimed Vice President rather focus on personal hatred and revenge on his political opponents rather than creating a roadmap to peaceful resolution of the suffering of the South Sudanese people” Gen. Abiath said.
“Gen Taban is unfit to lead the unity of his immediate family let alone the Mighty SPLM/A(IO)” Gen. Abiath added.
Gen. Abiath, who traveled to Khartoum on medical grounds, refused to return to Juba saying that he is ready to return to bush to fight Salva Kiir and Taban Deng Gai regime until the rule of law is restored in South Sudan.
Responding to these allegations, Gen. Taban’s spokesman produced a document alleged to have been written by Gen. Abiath sometimes in December 2017.
In the document Gen. Abiath requested for fund to clear his accommodation bill in one of the hotels in Juba and also to pay off house rent where his family has been accommodated by the government.
In total, the document claims Gen. Abiath requested 387, 000 South Sudanese Pound, an equivalent of about $1,500 US dollar to clear all his bills which accrued over the months before December 2017.
Due to financial crises in the South Sudanese nation, Gen. Abiath was turned down and told to wait according to Gen. Taban Spokesman, however, Abiath’s time was up to pay the bills or risked being kicked out by hotel management.
Despite financial crises, majority of South Sudanese officials reside in hotels and their bills are taken care off by the government.
Some hotel managements have tried to sue the government in courts as their bills are not paid for months but most of those cases are not being heard as the judges themselves are facing the same issue. Their bills have not being paid for months if not years.
The economic crises has hit South Sudan so hard in the past two years. Judges, university lectures, medical doctors and students on scholarships have all protested in the past few months to get paid.
Embassy around the world are slowly shutting down, one after another, as the South Sudanese government cannot keep up with its bills.
It remains to be verified if Gen. Abiath was forced to rebel by the economic crises or by other grievances, some of which he has discussed.
South Sudanese conflict has seen many defections as generals and politicians keep switching sides between the regime and oppositions seeking higher military ranks and better opportunities.
Gen. Abiath’s Defection To Taban,
The self-styled general, met Gen. Taban Deng Gai on the sideline of the IGAD’s Extra ordinary Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in June last year, 2017 and strike a deal to return to Juba.
Without a single bodyguard Gen. Abiath landed in Juba together with Gen. Taban Deng Gai on June 13th, 2017.
A few months later, Gen. Taban promoted Gen. Abiath to rank of Major General and deployed him in his office in Juba as Director General in charge of his office affairs and general administration.
Gen. Abiath has been in Juba since June 2017 until he recently traveled to Khartoum where he defected back to SPLM/A(IO).
His defection is being celebrated by the rebels as Gen. Abiath once commanded their troops against government operations in Upper Nile.
At the time of this writing, Gen. Abiath was yet to be deployed by the rebel leadership.