SPLA-IO Kitgwang claims more troops from Machar’s squad

By Bida Elly David

SPLA-IO Kitgwang faction under Zonal Commander Lt. Gen. Koang Ruot from Gen. Simon Gatwech camp has on Wednesday claimed to have received over one hundred defectors from the SPLA-IO under the command of Dr. Riek Machar Teny.

In a statement seen by No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday, the one hundred defectors were claimed to have emerged from SPLA-IO division three barracks in Nyatot of Nasir under the command of Gen. Thomas Tut Riek of Machar’s military wing.

According to Brig. Gen Alfred Gach who serves as the spokesperson of the SPLA-IO Kitgwang faction, the defectors were happily received by Gatwech faction noting that the struggle for regime change remains their major agenda for their movement.

“On 29th -03-2023, the SPLA-IO KD under zonal commander, Lt. Gen. Koang Ruot Luach had received more than hundred officers and NCOs led by Brig. Gen. Khan Teny Pal. They defected from SPLA-IO under Dr. Riek Machar at division 3rd military barrack, Nyatot, Nasir County under division command, Gen. Thomas Tut Riek and joined SPLA-IO KD under the chairman and commander in chief of SPLA-IO KD, 1st Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual,” the statement read.

However in retort, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, the spokesperson of the SPLA-IO under Dr. Riek rubbished the alleged defection saying it was a propaganda meant to tarnish the reputation of the movement and the current roadmap.

“For the Kitgwang faction to claim that the SPLA-IO forces (defected) to them is just lies. Our forces have not defected to any other faction and they are preparing for the second phase for the graduation. There are a lot of propagandas against the SPLA-IO,” he rebutted the statement.

Col. Lam said the propaganda of the Kitgwang faction was an agenda against recent peace conference held in Nasir that brought people from different political parties within the revitalized agreement as well as civilians to deliberate and have knowledge on the importance of peace to the community.

 “After the conference in Nasir, the SPLA-IO already knows their portion for the peace. People were able to move from Juba going up to there the likes of the Minister of Petroleum and the secretary general for SPLM-IG, so the conference was a peace achievement for the people of Nasir,”

SPLA-IO spokesperson further said he couldn’t believe that after the peace conference the SPLA-IO faction and the people of Nasir will decide to leave what happened to join Kitwang forces which have no hope as he termed.

“There is this connection that people put to the white army. The youth are always allied to be SPLA-IO, this is not right since every youth has a choice to make politically. They can decide to go anywhere and must not term all youth as SPLA-IO. Let the white army do their mobilization slowly not the name of SPLA-IO” Col. Lam lamented.

“You can’t defect from a senior movement without hope really that can’t work. We know Kitgwang faction has got a tribal agenda that they are using currently to convince the… youth to defect to them. SPLA-IO is a national movement with a national agenda,” he added.

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