July 13, 2021 — The military spokesman of the SPLM/A in opposition, Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng, has been allegedly relieved and recalled to the headquarters, according to Machar’s acting mouthpiece.
The statement, which was authored by Puok Both Baluang, and Dr. Machar as usual, says the spokesman has been relieved and recalled to the SPLM/A-IO headquarters.
“In reference to the mentioned subject, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) would like to inform its members and the public at large that Brig. General William Gatjiath Deng has been reassigned to the SPLM/SPLA (IO) Headquarters with effect from 9th July 2021,” Puok Both Baluang, the acting press secretary claims.
The same statement also reassigned Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, the Deputy Spokesman and the Press Secretary in the Ministry of Defense as the “Official Spokesman” of the SPLA-IO but it remains to be verified if Lam will continue to serve as the spokesman of the Ministry of Defense.
Machar and Gatjiath have had an intense meeting two weeks ago in which Machar accused his spokesman of working with the Chief of Staff to plot a coup against him, an allegation Gatjiath denied.
In line with the accusation, an audio purporting the voice to be of that of Gatjiath emerged within the last 24 hours in which two men speaking in Nuer called for replacement of Machar as the Chairman and C-in-C of the SPLM/A-IO.
In response to the audio, Gen. Gatjiath has denied the voice purported to be his, saying it is fake and “photoshopped”.
“The SPLA (IO) office of information would like to inform the public that, the recorded voice being sent to social media is fake and it’s a photoshop and It has been created by the enemy, especially those who were unhappy with my coming back to the HQs. It has to be regarded as a fake news of the day” Gatjiath claimed.
Although a lot remains to be revealed, Brig. Gen. Gatjiath was recalled to Juba in June and went as instructed; however, he later found his way out of Juba after claiming that Machar put him under house arrest and tried to hurt.
It it not clear how he sneaked out of the capital last week and whether or not he will heed to this letter that recalls him to Juba.
The main armed opposition has been in a series of crises since 2015, especially in Machar’s press office.
So far Machar’s military wing has had more than 5 spokesmen starting with Lul Ruai Koang, Yien Matthew, Dickson Gatluak, Gatjiath Deng and Lam Paul Gabriel. With exception of Lam Paul Gabriel, the four other men have had unaddressed grievances and later walked out of the armed opposition.