Subject: WADU Community in Diaspora condemns recent defection of Major General Ochan Puot from the SPLA- IO
October 6, 2019 (SSNA) — We the undersigned members of WADU community have strongly condemned the generalized defection of Major General Ochan Puot Buom as circulated in the media. As you all know WADU community has always been and will always be a staunch supporter of the cause and vision consistent with people’s movement under the visionary leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon. Therefore, We, the WADU sons and daughters abroad as well as in our homeland, in both countries of South Sudan and Ethiopia have strongly repudiated the October 1st, 2019 press release by few WADU members which stated that all WADU community in North America and Australia have joined General James Ochan Puot Buop’s defection to IG. We are all aware that defections in the SPLM-IO have never been a new pattern, however, the latest defection of Major General Ochan Puot Buom was not a collective decision, only a random group of individuals within the SPLA-IO. Besides, the WADU community is not part of the political-military Council (PMC), yet a civilian’s forum for Gatjaak, Cie-waw subsection with no affiliation to IO military defectors. Its community-based organization with a mission to provide services to the community members and development in the areas. Looking at the pros and cons of the recent defection, we the undersigned members of WADU community in North America and Australia have decided to distance ourselves from the splinter group that claimed to represent the views and opinions of the entire WADU community worldwide. That being said we would like to inform the entire south Sudanese communities and Gatjaak community in particular that most of WADU community members remain loyal to the SPLM-IO and will continue to support the revitalized peace implementation under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.
While all the sons and daughters of WADU community don’t condone the killing of WADU civilians in Maiwut state, which occurred on August 1st, 2019, we on the other hand vehemently would like to dispute some of the false allegations that the defectors have leveled against the peoples’ movement.
- The notion that WADU community has switched sides because they are mistreated by all subsections of Gatjaak and has no choice but to reunite with the enemy is totally unfounded. As a matter of fact, all the efforts made by Gatjaak community leaders, including Gatjaak Church leaders to bring General James Ochan Puot Buop back to the negotiation table have been exhausted.
- When the conflict transpired in South Sudan in December of 2013, Dr. Riek Machar was already relieved from his post as vice-president of South Sudan in July of 2013. What was initially started out as a political disagreement between the president and his vice-president, took an unexpected turn hours after Machar had fled Juba. Dr. Machar did not ask anyone to join him the in struggle, instead, it was an individual’s choice to join the rebellion because the entire Nuer community was targeted.
- When president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, ordered his national security personnel and tiger battalions to go door to door to hunt down all the Nuer people in the city, it was the Nuer generals including James Ochan Puot himself, in the military who responded by forming a rebellion when they heard about the massacre of their kinsmen by Salva Kiir’s regime. It’s unfortunate that the same general who fought Kiir’s regime for the last six years is now the one so easy manipulated and forget the 2013 Juba massacre and returned to empower the enemy without even initiating the reconciliation.
- We also believe that the number of people who were killed during the Maiwut skirmish has been exaggerated. Most casualties were people in uniform but only a few civilians were killed when the two forces clashed in Maiwut state.
- Dr. Machar had done nothing wrong instead he was confused by Cie-waaw themselves because Cie-waaw divided themselves between Pal Kuon and General James Ochan Puot. So, Dr. Machar took a bold decision that any democratic leader can take which means majority rights vs. minority rights.
- Individual defection is not new. We can’t take General James Ochan Puot’s defection as a collective effort of all Cie-waaw sons and daughters. Not only does this notion no sense but it is also a disserve to other Generals who previously defected. For example, when James Gathotth Gatkuoth Hothnyang defected to IG, the entire Cie-thiep community from Gajiok did not pledge their allegiance to him because he is their son.
- Last but not least, the mass defection of Cie-waaw Teny to follow their son, General James Ochan Puot Buop, who has recently defected to the government has only confirmed two things: a) Those who have defected to the government have a hidden agenda or many of them have never been staunch supporters of people’s movement in the first place or never understand the cause of the war and the vision of the SPLM-IO. b). As Kuol Manyang has beautifully said it the Nuer are like the female goat, who always pretends to resist sexual temptation and at the end will subsequently surrender to have intercourse with a male goat even though she wastes ample time throughout the day. So, the fact of the matter is that those who have defected to the government are only going back to the government for no other reason rather than a desire for greed and looking for positions in the government they have once despised.
On behalf of WADU Community Leadership in Diaspora, the following names are as follows:
- David Kueth Maluath- WADU, Senior advisor
- Gatwech Bol Diew- WADU, secretary of information.
- James Bol Kuicthok- WADU, undersecretary.