SPLA-IO generals to stay in Bentiu, say “we are for peace”

SPLA-IO generals to stay in Bentiu, say “we are for peace”
SPLA-IO’s Division 4A commander, Maj. Gen. Turuk Khor, pose for a photo with his officers at his residence in Bentiu town [Photo: Courtesy]

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), Unity State’s Division 4A commander, Gen. Turuk Khor, said they are committed to peace despite the order to remove SPLA-IO generals from Bentiu town.

Speaking to The City Review on Tuesday, Gen. Khor said on Monday, the acting governor of Unity State, Dak Koch, issued an order asking them to leave Bentiu town to avert military confrontation.

“This issue happened because of a former SPLA-IO Maj. called Wun Tip, who defected from SPLA-IO in 2021. When Lt. Gen. Maguek defected, he said he would join Maguek. He was advised and told not to be involved again in this Maguek’s defection,” Khor said.

“When we settled the issue and he was advised the tension was calm. But when there were tensions in some areas in Unity state, the acting deputy governor, Dak Koch, issued a ministerial order saying that SPLA-IO senior generals in Bentiu town should leave the town to avoid tensions in the state,” he added.

“We are not in the town because we like being in the town. We are here for the full implementation of the peace agreement,” he asserted.

He claimed that when he confirmed with the area governor, Joseph Manytuil, the state boss told him that he never issued such an order.

“I called Governor Manytuil yesterday [Monday], and I asked him for the letter of the evacuation order made by the acting governor. He told me that he did not say that we should leave Bentiu, but rather that all the soldiers who came from different areas should go back to their bases,” he stated.

“For the SPLA-IO senior generals who have been with us in the state, be in your places, and do not go anywhere. That is what the governor Manytuil told me,” Gen. Khor stressed.

According to the Deputy SPLA-IO spokesperson, Maj. Yai Pazale, they will not leave Bentiu town as they intend to implement peace agreement.

“We are not evacuating anywhere. We will maintain our presence in Bentiu because we are here for peace, and we will not relocate to any other location as our mission is to implement the peace agreement,” he stated.

Maj. Pazale blamed the state governor’s security advisor, Salam Maluit, for allegedly requesting them to defect from SPLA-IO, which they turned down hence the decision to evict them. The City Review could not independently verify these claims.

“This directive originated from the state’s security advisor. He attempted to persuade the SPLA-IO forces in Bentiu to join forces with the SSPDF. Upon realizing that we were not joining forces with them, he began creating these issues between us and the government,” he revealed.

He asserted that the SPLM/A-IO has representatives from various positions in the government, stressing that it will be the politicians to ruin the revitalised peace agreement but not the SPLA-IO.

“In Bentiu SPLM/A IO there are ministers, members of parliament and the commissioner of Rubkona County where Bentiu is located. How can we abandon them if the government of Unity State destroyed the revitalized peace agreement, the entire world should know,” Yai stated.

When contacted, Dak Koch, acting governor of Unity State, declined to talk to The City Review.

However, in his statement issued on November 4, he claimed that the decision was intended to shun tensions and clashes between the SPLA-IO and the recently defected generals to the SPLM-IG.

“This is only to prevent violence and military confrontation between the main opposition party SPLA-IO and the recently defected generals to SPLM-IG,” he emphasised.

Gen. Khor was ordered relocate to Tong, situated a few kilometres northwest of Bentiu town. The SPLA-IO forces stationed at Guit County headquarters were also directed to abandon their base and assign the area to the defected SPLA-IO commander, Maj. Gen. Wun.