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Unity State’s SPLA-IO generals defect to SSPDF

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Sunday, October 8, 2023

Former SPLA-IO generals. (-)

Some military commanders of the SPLA-IO led by Lt. General Simon Maguek Gai from Unity State on Saturday declared their defection to the SSPDF.

General Maguek, who has for years commanded the former opposition forces in the oil-rich state, switched allegiance, according to a video footage captured at the SPLM Secretariat in Juba.

He is seen standing with government officials including Unity State Governor Dr Nguen Manytuil and SPLM Secretary General Peter Lam Both, both dressed in the party’s red color.

Other officials including the Chief Administrator of Ruweng, the Deputy Governor of Jonglei State and SPLM official Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth were also present in the defection occasion.

Mr. Lam Both made remarks welcoming the group, which also included a handful of civilian companions that have joined the SPLM camp.

Before the outbreak of conflict in December 2013, General Maguek was a legislator and speaker of Unity State parliament.

The SPLM/A-IO leadership remains silent about the issue.

Meanwhile, SSPDF Spokesperson Major General Lul Ruai Koang said he will first consult with the military command before making an official statement.

The opposition defection comes at a time when the former warring parties have been united, trained, graduated and are awaiting deployment as a professional security force under one command.

Although the 2018 peace deal discourages defection among peace partners, cycle of defections by military and political officials has since prevailed.

 

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