Juba, December 2, 2016 (SSNA) — At least 300 soldiers of South Sudan national army (SPLA) have defected and joined the rival Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), rebel spokesman has said.
In a statement released Friday, Col. William Gatjiath Deng, the official Spokesperson of the SPLA-IO, said government troops stationed in Mayom County have abandoned the government are being received at armed opposition base located in northern part of the oil-rich Unity State.
“A huge force of more than 300 SPLA soldiers comprised of Commissioned officers (Cos) and non-commissioned (N Cos) defected from Mayom County of unity state to SPLA-IO and the defectors are now being received warmly by their comrades in arm at the SPLA/IO military base in the northern part of Unity state,” the statement reads in part.
Colonel Deng praises officers who involved in orchestrating the defection of government troops and calls on all SPLA-IO units to remain united and fight to change what he described as ‘the dictatorship’s regime which seems to be dragging its feet towards the implementation of the August 2015 compromise peace’.
Fighting has been raging in Unity State and Equatoria region between South Sudan warring factions. There have been recent documented ethnically targeted killings in Equatoria, prompting the United Nations and other international humanitarian organizations to warn of a looming genocide and ethnic cleaning.