No defection in SSPDF, says Gen Lul
South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), Spokesperson of Maj Gen Lul Ruai Koang, dismissed from Gen Paul Malong’s group that some soldiers defected from Jonglei State.
In an exclusive interview with The City Review on Tuesday, Gen Lul referred to the allegations emanating from the South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A) as a “pure publicity stunt.”
“SSPDF didn’t experience any defections. It was a pure publicity stunt,” Gen Lul said.
He was responding to a letter circulated last week and which alleged that 1,378 officers and Non-Commission officers had defected to SSUF/A of Gen Paul Malong.
“It is with great pleasure that the South Sudan United Front/Army welcomes to its ranks and files the new members who have expressed interest in joining hands with like-minded comrades of this movement to collectively champion for a better South Sudan,” read the letter seen by City News Digital.
It further stated: “Jonglei Canal Battalions Group led by Major Chol Biar Lual and 1,378 officers and NCOs are the sons and daughters of South Sudan who felt that a danger was coming in light of the government’s attempts to implement infernal plans that would displace the local and indigenous population if Jonglei Canal is built.”
The group derived its name from “the Jonglei Canal” a proposal initiated by the minister for water resources and irrigation, Manawa Peter Gatkuoth, to reduce insecurity in Jonglei State, encourage agriculture, and mitigate flooding.
However, the government had not approved the digging of the canal and neither has it released the budget for the construction.
Since last year, Malong’s movement has been claiming to have received some defected forces from the government soldiers but SSPDF has ever denied the report.
Last week, six senior military and political leaders in Malong’s movement formed a separate faction dubbed “South Sudan United Front/Army Proper (SSUF/AP), claiming that they desired negotiations instead of a barrel of a gun.
They cited the lack of direction and failure of Malong’s movement to address the problems faced by the refugees and IDPs.
In January, the official spokesperson and the ICT Secretary of South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A), Deng Chapath, defected to the government and warned South Sudanese against joining Malong so that they would not regret.