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W. Bahr el Ghazal investigates army defections

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May 12, 2014 (WAU) – Authorities in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal state have launched an investigation into last month’s defection of army officers from its military base in Mapel.

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Western Bhar el Ghazal state deputy governor with divission comander Bak Akoon Akoon at millitary base in Mapel May 11, 2014 (ST).

The probe team, with members drawn from diverse institutions, is led by Western Bahr el Ghazal’s deputy governor, Zackaria Joseph Garang.

Garang said investigations started last week with local communities, chiefs, women bodies, youth, payam (district) administrators, police and the military involved.

“There will be no any stone left unturned, we are doing this so that anyone found behind this incident will face law”, the deputy governor told Sudan Tribune.

“We are investigating the local community because we want to known from them as eye witness on how fighting started”, he added.

A separate inquiry, Garang said, is underway to find out circumstances under which a top army elevated officials to higher ranks after several soldiers defected to bushes.

“We discovered that what the media reported was not actually what happened in Mapel. [But] the investigation committee will establish the truth behind the incident”, he said.

Last month, the commander of the mechanised division in Mapel military training camp, Brig. Gen. Bak Akoon Bak said officers defected after a plan allegedly to assassinate him was unearthed.

“The clashes were not plan by division administration; it was only plan by individuals led by James Ochan who is now leading those who defected into the forest,” said the military officer.

“Am hereby asking them to come back normally,” he appealed.

Among the 203 defectors from Mapel, 29 of them were high ranking officers of which only three of them have return to us”, said Brig. Gen Akoon.

“We sent them to the UN base to ensure they were safe”, he added.

The number of casualties involved in the Mapel incident remains unclear with the military commander saying only one of his guards was killed, while four others were injured following an explosion in front of his office.

(ST)

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