November 16th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – A top rebel commander previously loyal to the National Salvation Front (NAS) led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo has defected to join the NAS faction led by Gen. Khalid Butrus.
The National Salvation Front -Thomas Cirilo (NAS-TC) is not a part of the revitalized ARCSS signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa by President Salva Kiir Mayardiit and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny in September.
The group led by Khalid Butrus have said that they are supporting the peace agreement meant to end the ongoing civil war slamming Cirilo for his desire in the continuation of a senseless war.
In an exclusive interview with the Nyamilepedia on Thurstay, Maj. Gen. Edward Odong, a leading commander for Cirilo’s forces in Eastern Equatoria said he has switched side and join Gen. Khalid Butrus to support the ongoing efforts to end the war urging Thomas Cirilo to put down his gun and go to the negotiating table.
“I have declared that I have defected from Cirilo and joined General Khalid Butrus who is for peace. We don’t want more destruction, we don’t want more death enough is enough. Let Cirilo put down his gun and solve whatever that might have gone wrong on the negotiating table,” Gen. Odong told the Nyamilepedia by phone on Thursday.
Gen. Odong who was in charge of the NAS forces in Eastern Equatoria said he defected with about 12, 000 soldiers of seven brigades which he said can make up a division.
“I defected with 12000 people. These are seven brigade or you can say one division,” he added.
For his part, Jacob Paul, the spokesman of the NAS faction led by Khalid Butrus said he appeals to all who are still carrying guns to join the ongoing process process saying the agreement has already addressed most of the issues that led to the rebellion such as the question of federalism.
“I would like to appeal to those who were still carrying arms to Join peace. There is nothing that keep them still participating in senseless war since R. ACRISS is well articulated. It’s already addressed issues such as Federalism and Root causes of conflict in South Sudan,” he said.
“I would like also to extend this appeal to my brother’s who are still holding guns in western Bahr el Ghazel and Yei River State to observe peace,” he added.