Over 100 SPLM-IO members defect to Kiir’s party

SPLM Party officals attend an event in Juba (File photo)

More than 100 members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Riek Machar, and sections of the Kitwang and Agwelek advance team in Juba on Friday joined the SPLM party of President Salva Kiir.

The over 30 SPLM-IO  members from Jonglei State, 48 from Panyijar County in Unity State, and 24 from Kitwang Declaration and Agwelek Faction who defected to the SPLM party in Juba include politicians, senior military officers, youth, and women.

Speaking at a function where they were welcomed to the SPLM party on Friday, Yohanies Kujier, the former commissioner of Payinjiar County in Unity State, said they felt disenchanted and abandoned by the SPLM-IO leadership under First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar.

“As I mentioned earlier, Payinjiar in Unity State is one of the counties that is contested and has always been one of the strongholds of the SPLM-IO but today with this declaration, 80 percent of the people will join the SPLM party,” Kujier said.

For his part, SPLM Secretary General Peter Lam Both confirmed that they received 119 new members who defected from the SPLM-IO.

“Our newly declared members of SPLM, the Panyijar group led by Dr. Kujier, and the Lou Nuer group led by Dr. Kuajien Lual, and the Kitwang group led by Comrade Sebt Kong, you are highly welcome back to SPLM. The SPLM especially welcomes you and this is the first declaration after our SPLM renaissance number two in Nuer counties of Upper Nile and Jonglei States,” he said. “All 119 of you, if you are all politicians or people who are not soldiers, you must be registered here and get your SPLM party identity cards so that you will have the right to services of the SPLM.”

“The SPLM will also have the right to ask you for membership obligations because as a member of the party, it is not always about what the SPLM can give you but what you can do for the party,” Lam added.

However, Puok Both Baluang, the acting spokesperson in the office of SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar, said they were not aware of any defections from the SPLM-IO.

“Gen.  (Simon) Gatwech defected from SPLM-IO and is no longer a member of the SPLM/A-IO and they have been linked or allied to the SPLM party for a while and we have been vocal that the SPLM party has sanctified the defectors from SPLM-IO and used them to fight against their former comrades,” he said. “Also, we are not aware of any defection from SPLM-IO.”

The leader of the Agwelek Faction, Gen. Johnson Olony arrived in Juba from Malakal on Sunday and said he was for peace and would meet President Kiir about the implementation of a deal inked in Khartoum in early 2022. He said his soldiers are now under the government.

Source: Radio Tamazuj

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