South Sudan: Official Accuses Gov’t of Unwillingness to Bring Peace, Defects to Riek Machar

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Reports from war-torn South Sudan indicate that government officials from the highly contested southwestern Yei River State have defected to armed opposition faction led by exiled opposition leader Riek Machar.

According to plural news website The Sudan Tribune, the officials cite government failure to protect the people in the area.

Yei is a mid-sized business hub of South Sudan, close to the borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Uganda.

Yei county commissioner, Bidali Cosmas Wöri – Kojo, is one the state’s local officials who have declared allegiance to Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) led by Machar.

Kojo also served as Yei town mayor.

The official, who defected on Saturday, was also joined and accompanied by many government soldiers. He cited the failure and unwillingness of the government to bring peace to the country.

South Sudan State information minister, Steven Lodu Onseimo, could not deny or confirm the report of the defection, the Tribune reported.

Political differences between President Kiir and his former deputy, Machar, first erupted into violent conflict in late 2013. They signed a peace deal in August 2015, but sporadic fighting has continued.

Machar returned to Juba in April to take up his position as deputy again when the July clashes flared up. He later withdrew with his forces from the capital and fled after his headquarters was bombed to rubble by the government forces using ground and air forces.

Source: Sudan Tribune