August 11, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – The SPLA-IO has denied that there was defection among its rank and file, saying the main armed opposition group had only learned about what it said is a “fake political maneuver” through social media.
Earlier this week, military officers who identified themselves as SPLA-IO officers accused Machar and his family of monopolizing the movement and declared their intention to join the SSPDF under President Salva Kiir claiming they had defected with hundreds of troops.
However, in a statement on Monday, Brigadier General William Gatjiath Deng, the SPLA-IO spokesman dismissed the claims and said no hundreds of troops defected as claimed.
“The military office of information for SPLA (IO) has learned a fake political maneuver imaged within these couple of days, claiming that, hundreds of troops defected from Malakal, Unity and Equatoria, said to have joined a fake “imaginary military forces” which have no presence or even a single base or barracks in the said places,” General Gatjiath said in a statement seen by Nyamilepedia.
“The SPLA (IO) military communication officer for sector (2) has confirmed the reports with confidence that, no hundreds troops from the SPLA (IO) defected from sector (2) as being alleged by the frustrators but we already confirmed the (4) local defence force (LDF) officers, who were desperately finding a way to be promoted by the SPLA (IO) but after a long frustration, they opted to declare themselves to a fake imaginary forces which have no presence around here and they wanted to tarnish the reputation of the professional army on the ground,” the statement added.
“In Allel training center, we know only three people defected with elusion (1) officer a long with other (2) civilians whom he had gotten at the (UN-POC) at Malakal lingering around until he burst them with blackmailed words to join a non-formed force in the name of Cdr. Koang Chuol, Who has neither have a coy nor even a company at the ground.
“Col. Emannuel Malish Aquilino, SPLA (IO) communication officer for sector (8) confirmed the reports regarding the redefection of Brig.Gen Peter Gatbel Thow, as a minor issue as he left a lone without a bodyguard the same as he had defected from the regime’s forces in 2018 and declared to SPLA (IO) since he came, he didn’t manage to visit the ground, he just made himself busy in the towns until he made his way back to the same regime simply SPLA (IO) couldn’t entertain those opportunistics officers whose aim is to get assignments and promotions upon the arrivals.”