Defected rebel officer rejoins Machar with morethan 130 troops
June 17th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – A military officer who previously defected to the rebel group led by Thomas Cirilo has denounced Cirilo and announces decision to rejoin the SPLM-IO under the leadership of the country’s former First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar Teny in accompany of 138 military personnel.
In a statement extended to the Nyamilepedia, Col. John Kaden Elisa, the commanding officer in charge of the rebel defectors, said they while in the ranks and file of Cirilo’s NAS, they were forced to fight Machar’s SPLM-IO which they said contradicts their initial goal when they joined the group.
“On behalf of my comrades in arms and on my own behalf, I Lt Col John Kaden Elisa and 137 other comrades decided to resign from NAS effective 15/06/2018 and rejoin the SPLA-IO under the leadership of Dr Riek Machar Teny. When Lt Gen John Kenyi Latio defected to NAS in July 2017, he forced us and conscripted others to join him and fight for NAS under Gen Thomas Cirillo. However, we ended up fighting against the SPLA-IO instead of the regime in Juba as it happened in Kajo Keji and many other places,” Col. Kaden said in the statement.
He said that they rejoined the SPLM-IO on their free will as they did in 2014.
“When we joined the SPLA-IO in 2014, it was out of our free will not force; this was however, not the case with NAS where we were forced to join by Gen Kenyi being the sector commander. We were also deceived that Gen Cirillo would supply us with logistics to fight the regime in juba. Up to now nothing has so far happened in that line, NAS forces are entirely depending on attacking SPLA-IO positions and support from some well-wishers in diaspora,” he said.
He said the reasons including deception by the NAS Chairman made them leave the group.
“The above reasons and many others not mentioned here made us resign and rejoin the SPLA-IO so that lasting peace and freedom is achieved in South Sudan for all South Sudanese. The struggle continues,” he added.
For their part, the SPLM-IO in a statement signed by Lam Paul Gabriel said they welcome the decision.
“The SPLA-IO this evening (June 15), would like to welcome back Lt Col John Kaden Elisa and 137 comrades who were forced to join NAS last year 2017. The resistance continues,” he said in the statement.