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JUBA - 2 Oct 2019

Leader of SPLA-IO splinter group arrives in Juba

Photo: Major General James Ochan
Photo: Major General James Ochan

The leader of a breakaway group of the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In-Opposition (SPLA-IO) arrived in Juba this afternoon.

Major General James Ochan Puot, head of the SPLA-IO’s provisional political and military council, flew to the capital Juba in a private plane from Maiwut.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj upon arrival, Maj. Gen. Ochan said he would meet with President Salva Kiir. “I want to confirm that I have arrived in Juba with a 22-member delegation,” he said.

“I returned to Juba to meet with the government because we are now part of the government. We returned to work with President Salva Kiir Mayardit,” he added.

The army general pointed out that his delegation comprising community leaders will hold talks on how to work closely with the government.

Ochan pointed out that his forces will be incorporated into the military.

For his part, Baruach Uluch Akolaton, the information minister in Maiwut State confirmed Major General Ochan Puot was welcomed at Juba Airport this afternoon, after abandoning opposition leader Riek Machar.

“Major General Ochan was leading a group made up of chiefs, army commanders and politicians.  We warmly welcomed his delegation in Juba.  The SPLA-IO splinter group came to Juba to confirm their return to work for peace with the government,” Akolaton explained.

General Ochan, who was deputy commander of the SPLA-IO’s division 5, announced recently that he had defected together with other military officers from Machar to join Kiir.

The defection came after armed confrontations between SPLA-IO troops and members of the Cie-waw community in Maiwut.