August 15, 2016 (KAJO-KEJI) - At least 1100 soldiers who reportedly defected from South Sudan People Patriotic Front (SSPF), a rebel groups based in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria state, have allegedly joined Gabriel Changson Chang’s South Sudan Army Forces/ Federal Democratic Party (SSAF/FDP).
- Gabriel Changson Chang (ST Photo)
Brigadier Gen. Dahab Dobuol Gew told Sudan Tribune from an undisclosed location in South Sudan that they have switched sides from Charles Kasanga after accusing him for signing an agreement with the government.
“We are no longer anymore with SSPF, but we have decided to join the South Sudan Army Forces under commander-in-chief of Changson Lew,” he said.
Dobuol said the common cause of taking up arms against the government was the betrayal by Kasanga, who they believed accepted an offer after series of negotiations with the South Sudanese government.
He however said they are coordinating with the SSAF/FDP chairman to form a coalition fighting group to restore peace and democracy among the people of South Sudan.
“Our decision to split out from the SSPF was that we see our members were lured into fake cheating by the government after forgetting of why they picked up the guns to fight President Salva Kiir’s dictatorial regime”, said Dobuol.
According to the official, the murder of civilians during the mid-December 2013 outbreak of conflict in the capital, Juba was the main reason why they took up arms to bring change in the whole country.
The groups say they would maintain different armed forces apart from the SPLA-IO, adding they would only cooperate towards fighting president Kiir forces, but with different commands of authority.
“We as South Sudanese factions who rose up against the Juba regime will be fighting for common agenda and shall continue with process of struggle until we restore peace in the country,” he stressed.
Dobuol said the allied forces to SSAF/FDP are present in Western, Eastern and Central Equatoria states.
A group of SSAF/FDP politicians led by Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth surrendered this year, but were dismissed from the party by Changson, who accused them of striking a dialogue with the Juba government without his notice.