January 25, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudanese rebel chief of staff has dismissed as forgery and misleading reports claiming that the rebel leader, Riek Machar, has issued an order directing him and all the commanding officers to cease communications and briefings with five top commanders loyal to him.
- Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, the chief of staff of the SPLA-IO, talks to the press at a rebel military site in Juba on April 25, 2016 (Photo AFP/Charles Lomodong)
General Simon Gatwec Dual, according to the statement from his office, was reacting to reports claiming on Monday January 23, 2017, that Machar had dismissed five high ranking commanders from his faction.
“The Office of the General Chief of Staffs of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) would like to inform all the SPLA-IO commanders, SPLA-IO units and indeed the people of South Sudan that the officers named and listed in the forgery are some of the most respected and trusted cadres in the SPLA-IO whose enormous sacrifice and commitment to the cause of the liberation struggle, vision and mission of the SPLM/A-IO under the able leadership of Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon as Chairman and Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the SPLM/A-IO,” the statement reads in part.
General Dual said the reports circulated on Monday January 23, 2017, were the work of the government under the leadership of president Salva Kiir Mayardit, who allegedly authorized the Embassy of South Sudan to the United States of America (USA) to design, issue and circulate a forged, false and misleading claims that Lt. General James Koang Chuol Ranley, SPLA-IO Deputy Chief of General Staffs (DCOG) for Administration and Finance, Lt. General Wisely Welebe, SPLA-IO Deputy Chief of General Staffs (DCOG) for Training, Brig. General Malual Beliew, SPLA-IO Acting Director for Logistics, Lt. General Alfred Fatuyo, SPLA-IO Sector Six (6) Commander in Western Equatoria, and Brig. General Wang Chang Thian, SPLA-IO Director of Internal Security had defected from the SPLM/A-IO and joined the Juba government.
The commanding officers alleged to have defected, he said, cannot and should not in any way be questioned, linked to any defection or even associated with the brutal and ruthless regime in Juba. The intention, he adds, was to tarnish the good name of the officers and create confusion in the rank and file of the SPLA-IO.
The statement further added that the Office of the SPLA-IO Chief of General Staffs (COGS) would like to once again remind the brutal and ruthless Juba regime that SPLA-IO has never been stronger than it is now and that the rank and file of the SPLA-IO is no longer vulnerable to forgery, incitements, statements, publications and campaigns of whichever and whatever sorts, forms or designs.
“The Office of the SPLA-IO Chief of General Staffs (COGS) would also like to equally remind the shameless and desperate Juba regime that the habit of spreading fabrications and falsehoods is now as good as dead and will neither salvage the insecurity and instability within the Juba regime itself, nor deter the resolve of the people of South Sudan to not only fight for freedom, justice and equality but also to defeat and end once and for all the autocratic and authoritarian leadership and policies in South Sudan,” it stressed.