South SudanSpecial Reports

Riek Machar Faces Massive Military Defection

Thousands of former First Vice President Riek Machar’s soldiers have defected to the SPLM-IO under Chairmanship of Gen Taban Deng Gai ahead of the reintegration process, dosage Chimp Corps report.

The defecting soldiers were led by two senior commanders identified as Maj Gen Makal Kuol and 2nd Lt Gen Dor Manjur.

The two commanders played key roles in decisive battles that raged in Juba in December 2013 and July 2o16.

Defence officials told ChimpReports on Sunday that the soldiers will be maintained at cantonment areas before being vetted for reintegration in the mainstream SPLA.

According to the Addis Ababa peace deal, opposition forces under Dr Riek Machar and government troops would be stationed around the capital city, Juba.

This created friction, leading to the July military clashes at the presidential compound in which over 300 soldiers died.

The fighting compelled Machar to flee Juba before being rescued from his hideout in the forests along the DRC/South Sudan border by United Nations.

In his recent speech to the legislative assembly, President Salva Kiir said South Sudan is one country and “two armies coexisting side by side is dysfunctional and already proven to be disastrous as we witnessed during July’s tragic events.”


He assured that, “There will be one national army by May 1, 2017.”

The president said he had instructed the army Chief of General Staff Gen Paul Malong to start the process.

“Matters of recruitment, training, promotions, command and missions will be professionally determined and based on merit, not according to ethnic or political affiliations,” said the head-of-state.

Gen Taban speaks out

The First Vice President Gen Taban Deng Gai who leading efforts in the reintegration of the armed opposition forces said the country would not return to war.

“I’m glad to inform you that the leadership of the SPLM in Opposition have decided to stick to the position of implementing peace, because the country has no option better than continuing with the implementation of the peace. The country needs peace,” said Gen Taban on his recent visit to Kenya.

He said lack of cohesion could not allow the implementation of the peace agreement hence the fighting in Juba.

Gen Taban further stated that the Council of Ministers and presidency never worked as a team hence constant bickering and fighting.

“The former chairman of SPLA IO was leading a parallel government in Juba. There was nothing to be called a team,” he said, adding, ”even you members of the press who were in Juba witnessed that the existence of parallel armies is what brought crisis that led to the killing in Juba and the former FVP moving away from Juba.”

“Riek decided to move away from Juba to fight another civil war, I and the leadership of SPLA IO decided to remain in Juba, as I said earlier, the option is not going back to war,” assured the new First Vice President.

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