Juba, South Sudan, 24 May 2021 – The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) Chairman Dr. Riek Machar has been urged by party members to address the root cause of the ongoing leadership crisis threatening to tear SPLM-IO apart.
In a press statement seen by Nyamilepedia, SPLM-IO Chapter in the United States blamed the internal chaos on the slow implementation of the peace agreement and in particular the security arrangements.
“The failure of the security arrangements that have led the [SPLM] IO forces to abandon the cantonment sites due to lack of food and medicines is a universal concern among all the SPLM/A (IO) members not just the Military High Command,” read the document signed by SPLM-IO Representative in the U.S. Dr. Isaac Gang and Simon Dak, National Chapters Coordinator.
“As such, we urge the SPLM/A (IO) Chairman to address it urgently using all resources at his disposal. And to that end, we want to make it very clear; we will not support any Intra-SPLM/A (IO) conflict.
“The Chairman should earnestly engage in fixing all grievances stemming from dissatisfaction with the slow pace of the peace agreement. Finally, we will not support any leadership changes within the SPLM/A (IO) Military High Command until the unification of forces is complete,” it continued.
Since the purported sacking of the Director for Military Intelligence, Maj. General Dhiling Keak Chuol by the General Chief of Staff General Simon Gatwech Dual, SPLM-IO has gone for an unprecedented political showdown after Machar revoked the suspension order.
In an interview with Radio Tamazuj on Sunday, Mr. Gatwech claimed that he indefinitely suspended Dhiling because the intelligence boss was carrying out the party’s activities, including the importation of firearms without his knowledge.
Gatwech also claimed that the suspension order was still holding adding that a revocation letter purportedly issued by Machar was dubious.
“That letter from Dr. Machar is a forgery because the letter I wrote to and reached him was dated and had a reference number. But that letter was written by the young men around him,” Gatwech claimed.
“I suspended the Director of Military Intelligence for several reasons. He brought firearms for soldiers without informing me who is the [General] Chief of Staff. He brought military supplies without my knowledge and in secrecy,” Gatwech said.
The army chief also accused Dhiling of having a breakaway group of forces to whom he diverts consignments meant for SPLM-IO forces.
“He diverted all the food and supplies of our forces. He has a large force in the Malakal area, about 60,000 forces. He promotes soldiers without my knowledge,” he said. “How can you promote a warrant officer to a Brigadier?” Gatwech questioned.
While Gatwech still pledges allegiance with Mr. Machar, the SPLM-IO Chief of Staff warned that if the current trend of chaos persists, the peace deal could collapse.
“If arms are being distributed in our areas of command without our knowledge then that is not an organized army. Armies are not run like that,” he told Tamazuj.
“The forces I command, even the ones of Gen. Olony have not graduated, and yet we are SPLA-IO Viva of Dr. Riek Machar up to now. Will there be a parallel force? Never. These firearms should be given to the forces in the gazetted training centers who are supposed to go to Juba,” he directed.