July 23, 2016 (RAJA) – The mayor of Raja town in South Sudan’s Lol state, James Benjamin, has confirmed his defection to the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO).
- Rebel fighters aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar march through a village inside rebel-controlled territory in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state on 9 February 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
“Yes it is true that I have joined the opposition without any fear and am ready to fight the government demanding our right of change to the current misleading government of South Sudan,” Benjamin told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.
“We didn’t want the presidential decree annexing part of Aweil, the Dinka land to Raja and the state government’s policy to replacing local citizens serving in the government with others from other areas,” he added.
According to the former town mayor, a number of senior government officials have joined rebellion and many more others could join the armed opposition faction in coming days.
“I have joined the SPLM-IO with other Lol state government officials, they are six in number, many soldiers and we have many others still behind to join the possible mission,” he said.
He cited the director of police in Raja town, Karlo Augustino, Judge Sebestiano Kornelio and the medical director of Raja hospital Benson Taban as some of those who joined SPLM-IO. He said a number of military officials have also defected.
According to Benjamin, he joined the armed struggle after falling out with Rizik. He claimed the governor had plans to assassinate him, allegations Sudan Tribune could not verify.