SPLA-IO commander abandons Machar over “deliberate” attacks against Gajaak
September 23rd 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – A top SPLA-IO commander has declared his decision to defects from the main armed opposition group led by Dr. Riek Machar Teny and join the government of President Salva Kiir after accusing the Machar-led group of deliberate attacks and killings against a section of his Gajaak community.
In a statement seen by Nyamilepedia, General Ochan Puot – who until last month was the SPLA-IO 5th infantry division deputy commander – said with effect from September 22nd, he and others he didn’t name were no longer members of the main armed opposition group declaring allegiance to the government of President Salva Kiir.
“We, the undersigned members of the Provisional Military Political Council split group from SPLM/A-IO of Dr. Riek Machar faction, hereby declare to South Sudanese, IGAD, East African Community, Troika and the international Community the reasons that we are joining the implementation of the Revitalized peace agreement signed in September 12, 2018 under the leadership of His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan,” General Puot said in the statement of declaration.
Among the reasons of defection, General Puot said, is the “deliberate attack, killings and displacement of innocents Cie-waw and Gajaak Civilians in Adar State (Maiwut); where over seventy-nine thousand four hundred and fifty (79,450) civilians were looted and displaced from their homes by the forces loyal to Dr. Riek Machar from July 31, 2019 to Date.”
The powerful rebel commander said no option was left for him other than “to defend the local population with any means necessary at our disposal by PMPC.”