October 7, 2016 (JUBA) – The armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) has admitted to have lost one of their chapters’ heads in the United States to the government under the leadership of President Salva Kiir.
In a joint statement signed by 14 heads of the SPLM-IO chapters in their 15 offices established in the states across the U.S. which have huge populations of South Sudanese, the states’ representatives have however downplayed the significance of losing their colleague, Ahchor Dhel, who was the SPLM-IO’s head of the chapter for South Dakota state.
The statement said Dhel is the only head of a state chapter who has switched side to President Salva Kiir and his deputy, Taban Deng, adding that the rest of the leadership and membership of the SPLM-IO chapter in South Dakota remains in full support of the former First Vice President, Riek Machar, and that an acting head has taken control of the situation in that particular state office.
“We the SPLM-IO chapters in the United States of America unanimously continue our support to SPLM/A IO under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the Chairman and C-in-C. We the fifteen Chapters also regret losing an individual from the Chapter of South Dakota. Ahchor Dhel ran the Chapter in South Dakota and has officially deserted his position. His official release is yet to be approved by the Mission Office of the office of Representative of the SPLM/A IO in USA, and he will be notified of his official release through a letter accordingly,” partly reads the statement.
“The Chapter Office of South Dakota is yet to identify a chapter leader. The Coordination Office shall monitor the process,” further reads the joint statement extended to Sudan Tribune and signed by 14 out of the 15 SPLM-IO heads of chapters in the United States.
They said all the SPLM-IO chapters in the U.S. continue to support Machar and condemned the new First Vice President, Deng, for allegedly having struck a secret deal with President Kiir to destroy the peace agreement and ensure that no various sectors reforms will be implemented so that they allegedly continue to loot the country’s resources and intimidate, torture and kill daring citizens using their security organs.
The statement, which was officially released to the public by the SPLM-IO’s national coordinator in the U.S., Sabata Ramba, called on all South Sudanese in the country and in the diaspora to mobilize their support behind Machar for better change in the country.
The statement bears the names of the opposition’s heads of chapters for the states of Texas, Washington, Utah, Arizona, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas Missouri, Tennessee, North Dakota, Maine, Alaska, California, Colorado and acting head of South Dakota.
This comes following the visit to the U.S. of government’s delegation led by the First Vice President, Taban Deng, who is reportedly returning to South Sudan over the weekend.
Officials of the SPLM-IO said they boycotted Deng and his delegation from visiting the chapters in the states and have instead invited a team sent by Machar to visit all the 15 highly populated states and brief the South Sudanese communities about the situation in South Sudan.