By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
December 30, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) - Three army generals have defected from the opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) led by Riek Machar, Sudan Tribune has learnt on Friday.
David Dang, head of Taban-led SPLM-IO coordination office here in Addis Ababa on Friday told Sudan Tribune that the three Generals defected along with three officers and joint the faction of First Vice-President Taban Deng Gai.
The generals who arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday from Pagak, SPLM-IO headquarters in Upper Nile region defected along with three Army officers.
The three Generals are: Brig-General Michael Paul Dak, Brig-General Mun Bach Thoch and Col. Dobuol Wuor Diew. All are from the Gajaak of Maiwut and Longechuk counties.
The defector two officers are Capitan Thiedat Mabil Choul from Army’s division-5 and Thiol Kier Wuol, former SPLM Youth League chairman in US.
The deserters said they have switched their loyalties from the leadership of Riek Machar and have joined the SPLM/SPLA-IO under the leadership of Taban Deng Gai.
"We have switched our support to First Vice President of South Sudan and Commander in Chief of SPLM/SPLA-IO, Taban Deng and to petroleum minister,Ezekiel Lol Gatkouth, for the implementation of the peace agreement," they said.
In Agust 2015, Riek Machar and Salva Kiir leader od two SPLM rival factions signed a peace agreement brokered by the east African bloc, IGAD.
Despite uncertainties, the peace agreement was then commended by regional powers and international peace partners as a major achievement to arrest the bloody war in the world’s newest nation.
The defection comes days after the UN Security council rejected a US-drafted resolution which calls for an arms embargo and other sanctions against South Sudan.
"We have concluded that Machar has failed to lead the SPLM/SPLA-IO movement into the right direction" the defectors said in brief statement they handed to Sudan Tribune.
The Generals urged all South Sudanese at home and abroad to join hands in realizing peace and reconciliation in war-torn South Sudan.
The Ethiopian based SPLM-IO office under leadership of FVP Taban Deng says it is tasked to mobilize all exiled South Sudanese for peace and reconciliation.
Office head, David Dang further says the office is closely working with the Ethiopian government, the IGAD and the African Union (AU) to promote peace.
Pressed by the American administration, the IGAD asked South Africa to host the ousted former Vice-President Riek Machar to prevent the resumption of war and to "avoid a genocide" in the troubled country.