August 8, 2016 (BENTIU) - Major General Tito Biel Wiec of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), who is deputy commander of division four of northern Unity State, has dismissed claims he joined former governor of Unity State Gen. Taban Deng Gai, after his appointment as the first vice president of the republic of South Sudan in a presidential decree issued last month.
He accused the newly appointed First Vice President, Gai, of misinforming the public and his supporters about him, that he had joined him. He said he is loyal to former First Vice President, Riek Machar, and the claim that he had joined Gai is false.
“This is to inform the general public that what have been spread by Taban Deng Gai are white lies. I am still in support of my Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Riek Machar Teny,” he told Sudan Tribune, over a satellite phone interview.
General Biel further accused Gai of allegedly committing crimes against humanity by massacring hundreds of Bul-Nuer in 2012, while he served as governor of the oil-rich Unity state.
“The fact remains that I will never defect to anyone apart from the SPLA-IO who is now a leading disciplined and professional national army in South Sudan,” he added.
However, he accused General Micheal Chiengjiek Geay, a recently appointed national minister of interior and Major General Makal Kuol, a defector from the SPLA-IO to Gai, of selling away their people.
“I defected in 2013 after Nuer massacre in Juba by the same regime that Taban Deng Gai claims to have forged a trust and work together. I will never betray their lives and blood, and shall remain united with my fellow Nuer to fight for freedom,” he added.
He said other Major Generals in the SPLA-IO such as Major General Peter Liem Bol, Maj. Gen Chiengrey Changath and Maj. Gen Makuar Gatluak remain united and work alongside with Riek Machar who is the head of the armed opposition leader and all were from Mayom of Bul Nuer community.
“This is to inform all Bul-Nuer across the globe and the entire South Sudan that we have never defected to Taban Deng, we are still under the command of Dr. Riek Machar as our chairman and Commander-in-Chief,” he said.
He confirmed about fourteen soldiers defected to Gai with General Makal and disputed claims of all Bul-Nuer in the SPLA-IO defected to the recent appointed first vice president.
Weigoah Ruop, a former students’ leader of Mayom county learning in universities and colleges in Kampala, has echoed General Biel’s decision, claiming students’ members in Uganda remain in full support of the opposition faction under Machar.
“As students abroad, we remain in support of our leaders who remain with Riek Machar. We think their allegiance is very important to us and the entire Nuer community in the country,” Ruop told Sudan Tribune when contacted on Monday.
There has been criticism, over the recent reshuffle of SPLM-IO ministers and members of parliament by General Gai as “death” of August peace agreement signed by both President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar the armed opposition leader.
There are expressed fears that President Kiir and Gai may scrap the provisions of the peace deal.