Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SPLA-IO Refutes Alleged Violation of Ceasefire
Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, the chief of staff of the SPLA-IO, talks to the press at a rebel military site in Juba on April 25, 2016 (Photo AFP/Charles Lomodong)

May 23, 2016 (JUBA) – Military spokesperson of a co-national army in South Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), has refuted allegations that their forces had attacked locations of their partners, the SPLA under the command of President Salva Kiir.

Colonel William Gatjiath Deng, in a statement he circulated on social media on Monday, said their forces had become co-national army of the transitional government of national unity and would have no reason to attack their colleagues, the SPLA.

“Now SPLA-IO has become a part of the current government and completely there would be no genuine reason for SPLA-IO to fight the SPLA, IG at all,” said Col. Deng.

On Friday, the spokesperson of the SPLA of the former government, Brig. Lul Ruai Koang, lashed at the SPLA-IO leadership, accusing it of attacking their positions near Bentiu, capital of Unity state.

General Koang also described SPLA-IO commanders as “idiots” in his press statement, prompting the response from his counter-part, Col Deng.

“I am sure SPLA-IO generals are not idiots as you [Koang] put it on your naïve press release issued on Friday at Bilpham, we are here to implement this agreement as it is in the book, and they are professional generals that is why they have delivered you this lasting peace,” he said.

He also said SPLA-IO has forces in Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal regions, contrary to what the SPLA spokesperson refused to recognize.

General Koang, who was SPLA-IO’s spokesperson for nearly two years before rejoining President Salva Kiir’s government in a dubious deal in 2015, once argued that SPLA-IO had forces in Equatoria region, indicated by his previous infamous press statement entitled, “It has exploded in Equatoria” which he circulated to the media last year.

His former colleague, but currently opponent, Col Deng, said it was better to “ignore” Brig. Koang’s statement, although he also said it needed analysis.

“I would like to inform the general public that, such incited and abusive language always used by the then Spokesman, needs to be analyzed and ignored as the country is ready to live in peace rather than to use antagonistic and horrible speeches,” he added.

He said it was the government forces which attacked positions of opposition forces in Rubkotni county in Unity state, or the newly created Northern Liech state.


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