August 7, 2021 (JUBA) – The top opposition military leadership in South Sudan said Friday it recognizes the legitimacy of the country’s first vice deputy in the coalition government, describing ousting as the creation of the peace partner.
The military leadership issued a statement saying its component of the Security Mechanisms under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Gabriel Duop Lam, the Acting Chief of General Staff, and the Co-Chair of Joint Defense Board had sighted with concern Kitgweng Declaration on 3rd August 2021 by the Former Chief of General Staff, Gen. Gatwech Dual, whom it said was already relieved of the command of the SLA-IO forces and appointed as Peace Advisor to the President.
The SPLA-IO leadership in the Security Mechanisms met on 6th August 2021 in Juba and issued resolutions supporting the decision of the political bureau of the movement. The meeting applauded what it described as a patriotic move of the Sectors and Division Commanders to openly denounce the Kitgweng Declaration and pledging unwavering support to Riek Machar Teny as the legitimate leader.
This, according to the statement, “proves that the failed the coup attempt is zeroed to only a few elements in Magenis, who succumb to pressure from the enemies of peace”.
It argued that delay of unification of forces was the creation of the unnamed peace partner, pointing fingers at a fraction of President Salva Kiir, a key partner in the peace deal.
“The SPLA-IO would like to inform the people of South Sudan, the Region, and the International Community that the delay in the unification of Command and the graduation of the forces are not failures of the SPLA-IO but the peace partners”, the statement reads in part.
The top armed opposition officials argued that the incident that Kitgweng declaration was inspired by incidences that happened in Maiwut, Kajo Keji, Maban, and Lieng.
These developments, he said, were encouraged and sponsored defections from the peace partner.
“This was evident in the recorded conversation of the former SPLA-IO Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng”, said Lam in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday.
It declared affirm support of the Command to the decision of the Political Bureau in a meeting held on 4th August 2021, saying military leadership remains subordinate to the civilian rule of the movement under the leadership of its Chairman and Commander in chief of the group.
“The SPLA-IO denounce and condemn the Kitgwang Declaration in the strongest term possible and stand behind under the able the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO, Chairman and Commander in Chief Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon”, it further stated.
It assured its supporters and the South Sudanese public that it is in full command and control of all the forces in its 8 sectors and the divisions and remains committed to the implementation of the Transitional Security Arrangement and reserves the right to self-defense when aggressed.