December 2, 2016 (JUBA) - The command of South Sudan army (SPLA) denied on Friday reports that up to 300 soldiers have switched allegiance to the armed opposition forces loyal to former First Vice President Riek Machar.
- An SPLA soldier is pictured behind a South Sudan flag as he sits on the back of a pick-up truck in Bentiu, Unity state January 12, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)
The soldiers, according to James Yoach, spokesperson for the opposition in the area, decided to break out because the government was not able to establish cantonment sites in the area and feed them.
The defectors were allegedly led by a 2nd Lt. Gai Kongim, who crossed to opposition forces”.
However while the armed opposition claims it has received the soldiers, government officials and military officials loyal to the government under President Salva Kiir have denied any knowledge of these developments.
Northern Liech State Information Minister Lam Tungwar, denied the defection and lessened the news.
“This is baseless and unrealistic news. There is nothing like at all. No one from our gallant SPLA forces has ever defected to the SPLA-IO. This is just propaganda to project themselves as still existing but in fact they are not in the area. They are practicing hit and run," he said.
"The Governor of Northern Liech state is in Mayom right now. our people should not panic. This is a lie and should not be taken seriously,” stressed Tungwar.
SPLA spokesman, Brigadier General, Lul Koang Ruai said he was not aware of any defection.