SPLA-IO commander James Koang defects to Kiir
March 17th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – Top SPLA-IO commander General James Koang Chuol has declare his intention to abandons the Machar-led movement and join president Salva Kiir Mayardit.
Koang who was the SPLA-IO deputy chief of staff for administration declared his intention today during a press conference in Juba saying he had defected with three other senior opposition commanders.
“We are hereby announcing our resignation from the SPLA/M (10) with effect from 17/3/2020,” they said in the statement seen by Nyamilepedia. “We have also decided to resign from our respective assignments.”
Their defection came a few days after the SPLM-IO, a signatory to the 2018 revitalized peace agreement, formed a unity government with President Salva Kiir’s SPLM-IG.
Machar nominated his wife to take over the defense ministry allocated to the group triggering anger among the SPLM-IO supporters and celebrated by many who believed the appointment may lead to disintegration within the group.
They said their defection was triggered by a lot of reasons including “the way the movement is being run and managed.”
They also said with Teny’s appointment to the iconic ministry, “the SPLA/M (IO) has lost direction, vision and command of the forces that it is turned into a family Affairs or business enterprise.”
“The recent appointment of Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs without consultation with Military Command Council in the movement is case in point,” they added.
Koang, said the appointment of Angelina Teny as defense minister was taken solely by Machar without any prior consultation with the military command of the opposition group.
Differences between Koang and Machar seemed to have began in January when he was replaced from the join defense board by Machar along with the group’s director of national security General Yiey Daak.
The powerful opposition commander who was also the opposition governor of unity state following the onset of the civil war in December 2013 defected along three other senior opposition commanders.
They includes General Gatkhor Gatluak, General Wang Chany and General Joseph Yata, all of whom had important roles in the opposition group.
“Therefore, in the interest of full implementation of the Sept 2018 Peace Agreement and in the spirit of ensuring stability and peace to our beloved country of South Sudan, we have decided to join hands, declare our support and allegiance to the president of the Republic of South Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit,” they said in the statement.
“We shall be committed and work as part of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) to effectively ensure that our abandoned forces that are left behind in the bushes without food, shelter and medicines are promptly reorganized and reintegrated in the shortest possible time with their brothers and sisters in the SSPDF.
“We strongly urge our field commanders and their forces to remain calm and ensure that the permanent ceasefire holds in greater Upper Nile, Bhar el ghazal and Equatoria in their current positions.
“We also urge them to immediately report themselves to various Cantonment sites and training centers for smooth and timely implementation of the remaining critical tasks of the security arrangements.”