Dec 12, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The SPLM-IO director of information and public relations, Puok Both Baluang has rubbished claims that the Defense Minister has been silent despite the attacks that have been taking place against the SPLM-IO in Central Equatoria State.
Puok said that Angelina Teny is the defense minister but she is not in charge of the forces as each force has got its own leader and Commander in Chief.
“Yes Madam Angelina is a minister of defense and veterans’ affairs, but she is not the commander in chief of the SSPDF because until now the unified force has not yet been formed and the SPLM/SPLA (IO) has its own commander in chief who is Dr. Riek Machar and has its own Chief of General Staff who is General Simon Gatwech Dual.” Puok said.
“The same thing to the SSPDF, whose commander in chief is President Salva and its Chief of Defense Forces being General Johnson Juma Akot,” he continued.
Some SPLM-IO supporters have been calling for the resignation of Angelina Teny for being silent even after the SPLM-IO centers were attacked by the SSPDF.
Puok said that the defense minister cannot be blamed for the attacks as she is only in charge of making policies but until now the forces have not been unified yet.
“We cannot throw blame on her because of actions or attacks committed by the SSPDF against the SPLA-IO positions in Equatoria and in other areas in South Sudan.” He said.
The director of information and public relations condemns the attacks by the SSPDF saying they are a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.
“I would like to condemn in the strongest term possible the violations that are committed by the SSPDF forces in Moroto and in other areas in South Sudan which is a huge violation to the cessation of hostilities agreement signed and the revitalized agreement itself,” he said.
Puok reiterates that the current peace agreement is the only hope to sustain peace and stability in the country.
“I therefore urge the SSPDF to refrain from such provocative activities which might hinder the implementation of the R-ARCSS itself because the peace agreement is the only hope to attain peace in South Sudan.” Puok said.
“We should hold strongly to it so that our people can live in peace so that we can achieve a prosperous development in the Republic of South Sudan,” he continued.
Responding to the same accusations, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, reiterated that the Minister of defense and veteran affairs can’t be blamed saying Hon. Teny is not in charge of both forces.
“It is therefore, very clear that the Defence Minister doesn’t have any command and control over any force, but as the Defence Minister and a member of the NTC, she has the responsibility to direct the JDB to exercise to arrest the situation on the ground since they are in charge of the forces to the agreement; which she did several times already.” Lam emphasized
Teny has been to Moroto and adjacent areas in an attempt to silence the guns; however, fighting has continued since leaving doubts on who is behind such violations and why.
“Secondly it should be noted that on 7/10/2020, the Minister showed courage by visiting both forces of the SPLA-IO and SSPDF after the first violations in Morota and directed the JDB to investigate the clashes that occurred and bring those responsible to account.” Lam said.
“This can’t just go unrecognized if we seriously mean to acknowledge one’s efforts towards stopping the aggression in Morota.” He further stressed.
Lam calls on critics to read the peace agreement and be acquainted with details on who should be held accountable whenever such crises arise.
“The JMCC is tasked with responsibility of the assembly areas, cantonment sites and barracks while the JTSC is responsible for Training Centres.” Lam explained.
Although the SPLA-IO has accused their counterparts, SSPDF, the army has distanced itself accusing the civilians of being responsible for leading offensives against the SPLM/A-IO.