By Sisto Ohide Gideon and Everlye Losike
As Defection continue to hit the main armed opposition party to the peace agreement in South Sudan, a senior SPLA-IO in Eastern Equatoria has announced his defection to President Salva Kiir’s side becoming the first commander to defect in the state.
Brigadier General Solomon Peter Angelo declared his allegiance to South Sudan People’s Defense forces under President Kiir command. He says blames his former Chairman of mismanaging the affairs of the party and abandoning soldiers at the training and cantonment sites.
General Solomon who defected from Rambur Training Center was the former administrator in AnyaNya Division in Aswa Cantonment site and was attending training as a senior police office at the centre.
In a letter seen by Singaita FM, he alleged that the party is no longer relevant with political realities for which it was formed for.
General Peter says his defection comes after realizing that his former party chairman lost the direction to control the movement.
He says IO is now divided and he is not interested to go back to the bush.
“Our chairman is already lost his direction to the movement, this is the reason why I don’t want to again be with him, and we IOs we are now divided, Simon Gatwech already got his side” his resignation letter reads in part.
“I’m a son of Eastern Equatoria, I don’t want to go back to the bush. If those people now they are divided why would I still stay with IO? Let me join my citizens, let me join my government rather than to go back to the bush, that is why I decided to join the government because our chairman is now messed up,” the letter reads.
Brigadier General Solomon Peter says he was warmly received by the National security service in Lira. He says his defection is effective from seventh of September 2021
SPLM/A-IO spokesperson confirm the defection of General Solomon to SSPDF.
Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel describes the defection as a violation to the peace deal.
“We know about that so I don’t think it is right for him to claim that he move from SPLA-IO; SPLA-IO have already handed him over to the transitional government of National Unity where he is going to be a national, if he suppose a soldier a national army, but he suppose a police officer not the one loyal to the party, but he decided to move back one step forward, that means a backward and now defect to SSPDF. It is surprising, but as far as the agreement is concern is a violation. For us SPLA-IO we look at that as a violation of the highest order something that need to really be stop. This, culture of defection is not helping. We just surprise that he declared his defection to the SSPDF from Lira
General Solomon blamed the SPLA-IO for abandoning the forces at the training centre and cantonment sites, but Paul dismissed the claims saying it is not the responsibility of the party any more.
Colonel Lam says the Joint Defense Force, joint monitoring ceasefire commission and National Transitional committee chaired by Tut Gatlauk is responsible for the training and cantonment centers.
When asked about implementation of security arrangement, the military spokesperson says there are people who are against the implementation.
“There are people who are against the implementation of security arrangement in particular the unification of command and the graduation of these forces. These crossing over is sponsored, I know there are challenges,” said Lam Paul, the SPLA-IO spokesperson.
“We need to be nationalistic with the national agenda to stabilize this country for the greater good, but crossing over is not going to solve this problem, is going to create more problem. Instead of moving forward is dragging the feet of everyone backward, but I would like to assure our people in the Eastern Equatoria that the defection is not going to cause us any challenges, he move as an individual.”
Col. Lam Paul assure the people of Eastern Equatoria state that the defection will not cause any changes to the peace implementation process.
Defection has continue to hit the SPLM/A-IO party with many senior Generals and political figures accusing the party’s leadership of failing to control the army and it structures.