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Machar directs forces to cut contact with ex-SPLA-IO commander

Gen. James Koang Chuol Ranley (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

March 17th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition leader and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has directed his forces to cut communications with former opposition deputy chief of staff who defected to President Salva Kiir’s forces on Tuesday.

This afternoon, Gen. James Koang Chuol, a powerful military figure in the Machar-led movement, declared his intention to resign and join the South Sudan army under President Salva Kiir.

Speaking to reporters in Juba today, Koang said the SPLM-IO had lost vision and that his decision to defect was triggered by the appointment of Angelina Teny, Machar’s wife and senior SPLM-IO member, as defense minister.

He directed forces said to be loyal to him to respect the revitalized ceasefire which has been holding since the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in September last year.

In a directive to his forces this afternon, Machar confirmed the defection and urged all his forces to “terminate all communications” with the defecting officers.

“This is to inform that a group of officers let by Lt. Gen. James Koang Chuol Ranley have declared their defection from the SPLA/SPLM (IO) to the SSPDF,” Machar said.

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