September 22, 2016 (JUBA) – The armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) led by former First Vice President, Riek Machar, described as “delusional” the claims by President Salva Kiir’s government that it will assemble in cantonment areas forces belonging to the SPLA-IO.
Official spokesman for Riek Machar said the newly appointed First Vice President, Taban Deng, is alone defector with few “desperate position seekers.”
“Taban Deng is a defector to Salva Kiir. We have cut him off from the SPLM-IO political organization and the SPLA-IO army. He has no political constituency and he has no army to command,” opposition leader’s official spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
“He defected to Kiir with few desperate position seekers and few bodyguards,” he added.
Dak argued that Deng only grabs a handful of supporters “here and there” who have been promised positions in Kiir’s government, adding that those who could not get the positions after the failure of the promises are again defecting from his group.
He was responding to the claims by the government that four cantonment sites have been identified in which to assemble SPLA-IO forces in Equatoria region.
He said Deng will not visit the SPLM-IO headquarters either in Pagak or Kaldak in Upper Nile region, or any other SPLA-IO controlled areas across the country, including in Equatoria region, saying he can only visit areas under the control of President Kiir’s forces in the country.
“Their claims are delusional. They are deceiving themselves. Soon they will realize how delusional they have been,” Dak added.
He said Machar has been in full control of both the political wing of the SPLM-IO and its military wing of the SPLA-IO, explaining that the whole military top leadership of SPLA-IO forces, including the chief of general staff and his deputies are with Machar.
He said the SPLM-IO top leadership will in the coming days break his silence and address the public on the way forward.