SPLM/A-IO suffers another defection as commander claims “he was betrayed”

The SPLM/A-IO sector three commander in Motot, Greater Lou Nuer, Maj. Gen. Michael Nyak, defected to the SSPDF on Friday citing marginalisation by the leadership of the armed opposition movement.

“We have officially announced the Comprehensive Declaration and switched our allegiances to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) under H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic, the Chairman of SPLM, C-in-Chief of SSPDF, and supreme commander of organized forces,” noted Nyak, in a statement sent to the media houses yesterday.

Nyak alleged that the decision to shift allegiance was triggered by systemic marginalisation by the leadership of the First Vice President Dr Riek Machar. He claimed that his community had sacrificed a lot to support Dr Machar but there is little to show for it years down the road.

“The purpose and rationale of this comprehensive declaration, triggered by myriads of concerns confronting servicemen and women, Lou Nuer citizens in the SPLM/A-IO, compelled us to join the government, adding that those concerns aforementioned are crystal clear to all comrades who have dedicated their time and resources to the SPLM/A-IO movement since its inception in the 2013 civil war.”

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The letter stated that “our pressing concerns are not limited to intentional humiliation and marginalization, lack of promotion, and rank confirmation of Greater Lou Nuer, who sacrificed their lives to serve the movement orchestrated by Dr. Riek Machar, the Chairman of the SPLM/A-IO Movement.”

Nyak alleged that, Dr. Machar “ignored and compromised the call for a lucrative Ministry of Petroleum demanded by Lou Nuer political leaders, top military commanders, youth leaders, women, and traditional authorities.” He added that “all those attempts have been futile.”

“In sector three, top military generals, junior officers, and NCOs have never been promoted and are not assigned to the National Security, and consideration is given to people who claimed to be the right people under the corrupt leadership of Rick Machar. Dr. Riek Machar frequently used the SPLM/A-IO as his own family enterprise and personal movement, but he does not heed the pressing concerns of people who offered their lives to sustain the SPLM/A-1O in 2013 and 2016, respectively,” part of the letter stated.

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He added that while they joined the SPLM/A-IO to fight for justice, equality and development for all South Sudanese, the outcome has been an extreme opposite of their expectations.

“Lou Nuer have been at the scorch of heat, hunger and lack of medicine and endless suffering in the name of SPLM/A-IO at the grassroots singing a song there is no peace in Juba while Riek Machar and President Kiir are in Juba together peacefully,” Nyak noted.

He called on President Salva Kiir to integrate their forces and confirm their ranks ahead of the deployment.

His defection comes just in days after Lt Gen. Simon Maguek and three other senior military personnel decamped from SPLM/A-IO in Leer County, Unity State, and joined the SPLM-IG.

In August, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) Brigade Two in Western Equatoria State also defected to the SSPDF, citing disorganization in the opposition camp.

Addressing the media at the Maridi army training center, Col. Christopher Gume, the deputy commander of the SPLA-IO forces, said they joined SSDPF on free condition.

“We agreed not to join SSPDF because SPLM-IO, under the leadership of the first Vice President and his governor, Alfred Futuyo, is not ready to give peace to the people of South Sudan and Western Equatoria State due to a lack of good objectives,” Gume claimed.

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Gume accused Futuyo of doing things contrary to the reasons why they took arms against the government.

Speaking after Maguek’s defection, the Acting Director of Communication in the Office of the First Vice President, Puok Baluang said the defections are not motivated by tangible reasons by attempt to spoil the name of Dr Machar.

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