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SPLM-IO rejects Kiir’s claims that Machar’s forces are all senior officers

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Dr Riek Machar, First Vice President - courtesy

The SPLM-IO has rejected President Salva Kiir’s remarks to AU that the party has promoted all its forces to higher ranks hindering the graduation of the unified forces.

During a meeting on Friday, President Kiir reportedly told AU the unified forces have been trained and ready for the graduation, but the opposition forces including SPLA-IO and SSOA promoted all their soldiers to officers.

According to President Kiir, this is hindering the formation of a command structure and graduation of the forces.

Kiir’s statement to AU came barely a week after the Presidency resolved to graduate the first batch of the unified forces after formation of the command structure.

Prior to the AU visit, the presidency had given the Joint Defense Board a week to verify more than 50, 000 screened joint forces before graduation.

However, the spokesperson in the office of the First Vice President rejected Kiir’s claims, saying SPLA-IO has not promoted its soldiers to higher ranks.

Puok Bok, SPLM-IO Director for Information, attributed the delay to graduate the unified forces to the lack of political will from the SPLM-IG.

Bok, who is also the acting spokesperson in the office of the First Vice President, says the claims by President Kiir that SPLA-IO has more generals is not true.

“The President pointed out that the SPLM-IO has more generals, which is not true. And according to the reports of the JDB they have finished all the screening based on military formation starting from squad upward,” Bok told Eye Radio.

“The graduation of the unified forces is not relying on the arrangements of the screening of the forces only, first we should have agreed on the unified command of these forces. Second, the parliament has to pass the security laws.

“These laws are the one that will regulate the work of these forces, so these are the two factors behind the delay, and lastly, lack of the political will from President Salva Kiir’s party.”

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