Juba, South Sudan, 22 May 2021 – An aide to First Vice President of South Sudan and SPLM-IO Chairman Dr. Riek Machar has trashed the report alleging the dismissal of the opposition’s General Chief of Staff Simon Gatwech Dual.
James Gatdet Dak, a longtime Press Secretary at the office of Machar said the report was an unauthentic piece peddled by elements bent on destabilizing the party.
The development comes as factional fights threaten to tear SPLM-IO apart with a plethora of breakaway groups, whose ring leaders have ceased to take from Mr. Machar.
Earlier Saturday, a seemingly authentic document bearing the signature and name of Machar who doubles as the Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA-IO, made round on social media platforms.
In the document seen by Nyamilepedia, Machar was allegedly said to have dismissed Gatwech with a written letter from his position and promoted Gen. Duop Lam instantly to the senior rank. However, the Press Secretary said, “The statement is not true, it’s fake”.
According to a short statement posted by Dak on his Facebook page, he says those who forged the signature of Machar and fabricated what he dubbed “fake news” are peace spoilers who want to create a bewildering situation within SPLM/A-IO.
Dak urged the public to ignore the document emphasizing that it wasn’t signed by Machar.
“Ignore it, it was not authored by the chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/SPLA-IO,” Dak wrote. “An enemy of peace faked it”, he continued in a statement extended to Nyamilepedia.
Tension arose within the ranks and files of the SPLM/A-IO between Machar and his General Chief of staff Gatwech following a decision taken by Mr. Gatwech to suspend SPLA-IO head of military intelligence Maj. Gen Zhiling Keah, a suspension order that was later nullified by Machar on the ground that it was not holding any legal basis.
The suspension of the intelligence chief was also declared null and void on the ground that it was not within the jurisdiction of the General Chief Staff to dismiss or suspend high-ranking military personnel without Machar’s order.