Juba, South Sudan
June 24, 2021 – Responding to the ongoing controversy within the ranks and files of the SPLM/A in Opposition on whether the Chief of General Staff, 1st. Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, has been relieved and replaced, the press unit of the First Vice [President confirmed that the military has been briefed on the changes as follow;
In an interview with Nyamilepedia editorial team today, the SPLM_IO Director of Information and Public Relations, Mr. Puok Both Baluang reiterated that the SPLM-IO Chief of General staff has been relieved from his position by the Commander-in-Chief following his recent appointment by President Kiir as Presidential Advisor for Peace; however, no replacement has been announced yet.
Mr. Baluang said the SPLA-IO chief of General Staff, 1st Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual was removed from his position shortly after he was appointed as Presidential Advisor for Peace and the SPLA-IO military was informed right away.
“I want to assure the public that the leadership of the SPLA_IO has informed all military units of the SPLA_IO with a written document about the removal of Gen. Dual as Chief of General Staff with immediate effect from 22nd of June 2021” Puok B. Baluang said.
“we appreciate Gen. Simon Gatwech for his tireless efforts and great work during his time as Chief of the armed forces and we wish him all the best in his new assignment as Presidential Advisor for Peace “, Baluang said with great confidence.
When asked of what would happen if the Chief of Staff decides not to accept the new assignment , Baluang said it is premature to rush to conclusion, adding that Gen. Gatwech was officially consulted prior to his appointment and his name was confirmed later on after he communicated his consent to Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA – IO, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
Baluang also dismissed what he termed as baseless speculations circulated “by none SPLM/SPLA_IO members” and those who consider Machar’s stay in Juba as tantamount to surrendering to status quo, arguing that Machar’s presence in Juba has improved a lot of things.
” I would like to say the SPLM/SPLA_IO leadership is very strong and progressing well and determined to achieve its objectives, it is baseless presumption that the presence of Machar in Juba amount to surrendering,” Baluang said.
“Machar is here for peace and because he is here there are many things going well now in term of peace implementation ” he further emphasized.
At the time of this interview, Baluang said he doesn’t know who will succeed Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual as the SPLA-IO Chief of General Staff; however, he is confident that the SPLM/A-IO is currently conducting consultations within the ranks and files of the SPLM/SPLA_IO to come up with the most competent and senior general to lead the armed opposition.
Speaking to Nyamilepedia yesterday, Baluang also denied that the Chief of Staff was fired from his position but admitting that he lost his office by virtue of the new advisory portfolio.
Today he confirmed with confidence that “he is 100% sure” the Chief of Staff has been removed and that he has assured Dr. Machar that he is ready to take up his new responsibility.