SPLM-IO acknowledges defection of top commander but denies accusations
September 24th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition group SPLM-IO, led by the country’s former First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar Teny acknowledged on Monday the defection of top commander.
On Sunday, SPLA-IO former deputy commander for the group’s 5th Infantry Division General Ochan Puot declared his decision to defect from the Machar-led movement and joined the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
General Ochan accused Machar’s group and the main armed opposition leader in particular of carrying out attacks against civilians in rebel-held areas of Maiwut County.
However, in a statement issued on Monday, the SPLM-IO director of information and public relations Puok Both Baluang denied the accusations calling them baseless.
“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) would like to confirm to its members and the public at large the defection of Gen James Puot Ochan to the government South Sudan,” Baluang said.
“We wish also to categorically refute the false information and baseless allegations made by General James Ochan Puot about H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) and the People’s Movement in general, in his statement dated 22 September 2019,” Baluang added.
The statement further warned members and supporters to stay away from the allegations.