Four generals and two colonels from the South Sudan government forces aligned to First Vice President, Gen. Taban Deng, have defected to Federal Unionists Liberation Front.
A statement released by Brigadier generals Kawai Babuoth, Kawai Babuoth Ruot, Ter Majak Thach Bany, Koang Makuei Gatbel and colonels Nhial Tot Thoar and Riek chop declared their defection on Thursday.
“Today we would like to announce to the People of the Republic of South Sudan and the World at large that we joined Federal Unionists Liberation Front under Col. Dickson Gatluak Jock Nyuot, the Chairman and Commander-In-Chief from the South Sudan People Defense Forces (SSPDF) in accordance with the national interest to offer a vital, positive role and help build a future that our country,” said part of the statement.
The group said they believe only federal system of government can salvage South Sudan that has been in civil conflict for years.
“We defected at Tong, Rubkona County in Unity State-Bentiu and choose to join FULF frontline to fight for a federal system which has been the call for every citizen in the Country so that the regions or the states will have the right to exercise its powers and responsibilities,” said the statement.
They noted that lack of vision, accountability and political processes under the current leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Taban Deng left them with no option but to quit.
The defected commanders stressed that federal system is going to correct the economic inequality in South Sudan.
“The oil that is supposed to sustain the lives of civilians is now being use to benefits some individuals in the country through ill-gotten privilege, therefore, their luxurious lifestyle is beyond, the people of Greater Upper Nile are still living under trees, waterlogged areas and some have been stranded in the UNMISS compounds under the mercy of International community while the war beneficiaries are making daily trips abroad when the citizens are in devastating flood and starvation,” said the statement.
The annexation of land in the oil rich Upper Nile region along ethnic inclinations also angered them.
“More importantly, the core of our defection is engendered by the lands annexation in Greater Upper Nile, in the name of expanding the country to many states, Salva Kiir and his Jang community annexed Nuer lands to Dinka territories in Greater Upper Nile and this move is the main motive behind our defection to FULF.”