Youth in a neighboring Ugandan district are joining the SPLA-IO due to poverty, this is according to the Lamwo resident district commissioner, James Nabinson Kidega.
Kidega says South Sudanese authorities complained during an inter-border meeting in Torit State headquarters about Ugandans being recruited into SPLA IO ranks.
A Ugandan media reports that during a meeting, Torit Governor Alberio Tobiolo alleged that they had identified some Ugandan nationals who are holding military ranks within the SPLA IO.
Governor is quoted as saying that the youth are now persuading Ugandan young men to join their ranks with promises of decent pay.
Captain Geoffrey Komakech, a resident of Lukome in Gulu district who is now in the SPLA IO ranks, reportedly claims to have recruited over 30 young men from Gulu, Lamwo and Kitgum districts.
However, the SPLA-IO rejects the report, referring to it as a “white lie aimed at tarnishing the image” of the movement.
“The SPLA-IO would like to make it clear that it does not have anyone by name Geoffrey Komakech in its ranks and files as alleged by Kidega; secondly, the SPLA-IO does not recruit or operate abroad,” said Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO deputy military spokesperson.
SPLA-IO is the military wing of the main opposition group under the former first vice president Dr Riek Machar.
Together with the government and other parties, they are implementing the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement.
“The SPLA-IO is now implementing the transitional Security Arrangements in Juba and its forces are all in cantonment sites awaiting registration and screening,” Col. Lam continued.
“This is a threat to James Kidega who sees his plan to grab land in South Sudan is due to fail.
“Kidega should know his boundaries and avoid poking his nose into the affairs of the SPLA-IO in particular and South Sudan in General.”
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