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Maiwut state speaker welcomes defection of top rebel commander


South Sudan's opposition leader Riek Machar speaks during a briefing in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa April 9, 2016 (Photo Reuters/ Tiksa Negeri)

September 26, 2019 (JUBA) - The speaker of South Sudan’s Maiwut state assembly has welcomed a top rebel commander’s decision to defect from the armed opposition faction (SPLM/A-IO), saying it would cease hostilities in an area which has been a hot spot of the conflict despite the permanent ceasefire between rival forces.

Major Gen. James Ochan Puot, one of the SPLM/A-IO’s top commanders, defected from the armed opposition group led by Riek Machar and joined President Salva Kiir.

Puot was the deputy commander of the SPLA-IO’s in charge of its 5th division.

In a statement issued on Thursday, lawmaker Choul D. Kir, who hails from the constituency of the defected armed opposition commander, also lauded government for welcoming Puot, saying it was time for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.

“On behalf of Maiwut community in Government and on my own behalf with capacity as Speaker of the House, I would like to congratulate General James Ochan and Gajaak supported the Provisional Military and Political Council (PMPC) for the wise decision they have made. The declaration will cease hostility and bring lasting peace in Gajaak areas”, Kir said.

South Sudan’s Information minister, Michael Makuei said government welcomes the defected rebel official but did not mention the circumstances under which the armed opposition commander made the decision to abandon the SPLM/A-IO forces.

It remains unclear what would be done to troops that defected alongside Puot.

Puot, one of the SPLM/A-IO’s top commanders, announced on Sunday that he had defected from the armed opposition group led by Riek Machar and joined Kiir.

The defected general, who was the deputy commander of the SPLA-IO’s division 5, said he defected from the armed opposition group after “deliberate attacks, killings and displacement of Cie-waw community in Adar State where thousands of civilians were displaced from their homes by SPLA-IO forces since July 31, 2019.”

But the SPLM/A-IO, in a statement, said Puot’s decision to quit at a time of implementing the revitalized peace deal is a “counter-insurgency tactic of the security”.

South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 when Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup.

In September 2018, the rival factions involved in the conflict signed a peace deal to end the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 2 million people in the country.


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  • 27 September 2019 08:08, by South South

    I add my voice to congratulate the people of Maiwut State. James Ochan is a hero and real peace will return to Maiwut State. Let’s move on with peace. Just look to Riek’s eyes, he can’t see, he is going blind.

    repondre message

    • 27 September 2019 13:12, by Games

      South South
      Gajaak clans are over 1 millions people. Don’t break your legs for single person that doesn’t even have a bodyguard with him. There were so many generals from IO sides that when to Juba, but their defection were made IO more stronger and stronger. This is a game, you kill one gang member, they would replace it with another one in the next day

      repondre message

      • 27 September 2019 15:22, by South South


        You damn lair. Read what IO said:
        "For its part, the opposition group led by Riek Machar, SPLM-IO told Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday that following the defection of Major General James Ochan Puot, the government started deploying its forces to civilian centers within the opposition-held areas.
        Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday, Pouk Both Baluang, the SPLM-IO’s director for information"

        repondre message

  • 27 September 2019 16:35, by Ram Mi Ran

    Defection of Ochan will bring no change to government of Salva Kiir nor will weaken the SPLA-IO forces instead will make SPLA-IO stronger. See all general who has defeated to government begin from Lol Ruai, Gathoth Gatkuoth, Taban Deng Gai just to mentioned a few. The best solution is to implement this revitalize peace agreement given to us by God.. On other hand Salva Kiir government supported b

    repondre message

  • 27 September 2019 16:43, by Ram Mi Ran

    Salva Kiir government supported by UPDF, JEM, SPLA-North two factions and other Darfur rebels in order to clear SPLA-IO forces in South Sudan but all failed. Instead just make SPLA-IO stronger and stronger. The best solution is to implement this revitalize peace agreement chapter by chapter for us to have peaceful South Sudan.

    repondre message

    • 27 September 2019 17:16, by South South

      Ram Mi Ran,

      If SPLA-IO is stronger, then why did they run away from Pagak, their headquarters? Bor, Malakal, Bentu, Nasir and all towns in Nuer land? SPLA-IO was sleeping with Bashir in one bed, did that help them to change a government in South Sudan?

      repondre message

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