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South Sudan opposition cries foul as SSPDF detains 24 officers in Unity state

The South Sudan armed opposition-Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO) has criticized the arrest of 24 of it’s officers in Koch County of Unity State.

The arrests follows the recent defection of the SPLA-IO sector two commander Maj.Gen Simon Maguek Gai with over 200 soldiers to the SSPDF sparking tensions between the two forces, as peace monitors work to unify them into one national army.

“There is no reason to arrest our 24 military officers when people are in peace,” Maj Kerbino Yai Pazal, the SPLA-IO sector two spokesperson told Juba Echo on Monday in Bentiu town.

He said the SPLA-IO officers were arrested on October 27, under the orders Gordon Koang Biel, the Commissioner of Koch County.

Biel is alleged to have ordered soldiers under the command of Maj.Gen Simon Maguek Gai to arrest the SPLA-IO officers.

“This is serious violation of the South Sudan peace agreement, we need our military officers to be released as soon as possible,” Pazal said.

Captain Abot Wai Abot, the spokesperson of the SSPDF division four said that they are in contact with SPLA-IO leadership with the aim of releasing the soldiers.

“We are in contact and they will be released after we find out the details from the ground,” Wai said.

South Sudan is supposed to graduate and deploy 83,000 unified forces under the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

In August 2022, 52,000 forces of the first batch were graduated but are yet to be deployed.

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