Juba, South Sudan,
Thursday, May 20, 2021 – SPLA-IO Commander-in-Chief Dr. Riek Machar has nullified the suspension of Director for Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Zhiling Keah Chuol a day after the party’s General Chief of Staff Simon Gatwech Dual ordered the dismissal of the intelligence chief.
Machar declared the suspension null and void Thursday morning on the ground that it was not in the exercise of Mr. Gatwech to order the suspension of senior military personnel.
He described the suspension as invalid calling on the public and SPLM-IO supporters to disregard the dismissal statement as it was not within the jurisdiction of the General Chief of Staff to suspend any top military official.
In a statement extended to Nyamilepedia, Machar, who is also the First Vice President of South Sudan, urged the public to disregard the suspension narratives about Zhiling as it does not bear any legal ground.
“I have read on social media a press statement attributed to the SPLA/M-IO leadership, written by Brig. GEN. William Gatjiath Deng, SPLA-IO military spokesman about the suspension of Maj. GEN. Zhiling Keah Chuol, and appointing of Maj.Gen. Marco Liah Chany, and dissolving all deployments of the military intelligence officers in all sectors, dissolving Brigades and Battalions.
“These measures are all invalid, it is only the Commander-in-Chief who can take such measures. As such, this press statement has to be ignored with immediate effect,” Machar ordered in the statement.
Two days ago, Gatwech warned the public from buying into what he described as “fake news” about his defection from SPLA-IO and went further to accuse Mr. Zhiling as the person behind all speculations.
On Wednesday evening, Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng, who is SPLA-IO military Spokesperson released the dismissal statement.
The saga confirms the leadership rift within the SPLA-IO ranks. In late April, a report submitted to the United Nations Security Council by a panel of experts revealed that some political and military figures within the SPLA-IO were challenging his leadership and that some officers have defected to the government.