By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
August 29, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) – An “influential” opposition figure from the opposition faction of Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) led by former Vice President, Riek Machar on Tuesday officially declared that he has switched his loyalty to first Vice President Taban Deng Gai-led SPLM-IO faction.
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Major Tut Rom, commissioner of Jotome County in Maiwut state defected along with 15 officers.
In a statement Sudan Tribune received today from the Taban-led SPLM-IO coordination office here in Addis Ababa, Rom said he accepts the August 2015 peace agreement and national dialogue declared by South Sudan president, Salva Kiir.
In August 2015, the two SPLM warring factions signed peace agreement brokered by the regional bloc Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Despite uncertainties, the peace agreement was then welcomed by regional powers and international peace partners as a major achievement to arrest the bloody war in the world’s newest nation.
“As commissioner of Jotome County, I totally fed up for the wrong leadership of Riek Machar since Riek is struggling to fail the people of South Sudan instead of helping them,” Rom said.
He called on those who remain in the bushes particularly the supporters of Riek to put down their guns and join Taban Deng faction to support the compromised peace agreement and national dialogue to resolve the internal crises.
He said the group decided to switch allegiance and loyalty to Taban Deng led SPLM faction after careful deliberation.
The commissioner thanked the community in Jotome County for listening to his advice for them not to participate in the “senseless” war.
The defectors are currently in Pagak county with the SPLM army.
South Sudan erupted into civil war in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy and current rebel leader, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup, an accusation the latter denies.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands and forced over 2.6 million people to displace from their home.
It has also left an estimated 4.8 million (approximately 40% of the population) to face severe food insecurity.