South Sudan opposition led by Dr Riek Machar has welcomed a top SPLA Brig Gen Gatwech Puoch who defected from President Salva Kiir’s military yesterday.
According to Tut Loutkoway SPLA Secretary US chapter, General Gatwech Puoch Mar, is a brother to Upper Nile State Governor Simon Kun Puoch Mar.
He was assigned to serve as a general in Northern Bahr el Ghazel before South Sudan Civil War broke out last year.
The soldiers defected with a full array of brand new machinery that Uganda has been purchasing on behalf of the SPLA Juba faction as agreed between the two leaders, the stocks include tanks, APC, Textures and modern artillery weapons.
We talked to Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, this morning and he confirmed the development.
“General Gatwech Puoch’s defection to us is an important decision which the leadership applauds,” Gatdet told us.
“He was commanding government’s troops in Wau town of Western Bahr el Ghazal state.”
Gatdet said Brig Gen Gatwech has experience that he “will now share with our movement”.
“We welcome him to join efforts with us in restoring peace and changing the status quo in South Sudan.”
Brig Gatwech Pouch Mar, said he opted to defect at this time because he took time to study what vision will propel South Sudan out of this current crisis and finally he settled for the vision of federalism.
His pronouncement was that the flattering regime of Salva Kiir has lost focus and has resorted to open tribalism, nepotism and marginalization of other South Sudan tribes by Kiir corrupt Dinka dominated government.
The general cited a recent example where Salva Kiir appointed 60 Dinkas in the cabinet in clear violation and disregard of national unity government.
Gatdet told us he had not confirmed the alleged 2,700 soldiers the General is said to have brought along.
He also denied reported defections within in the opposition saying “those are lies”.