“SPLM/A-IO is no longer relevant” Defence Minister, Hon. Angelina Teny told IO soldiers

Photo: South Sudan Minister of Defence, Hon. Angelina Teny sitting in her new office in Juba, South Sudan. Courtesy/Ministry of Defence

In graduation ceremony of Unify Force at Awiny Nyibol military training center last week, the current minister of defence, Hon. Angelina Teny told the recently integrated IO soldiers to stop identifying themselves as SPLM/A-IO.

 “For those of you who are here, you are now ready. For those of you calling themselves IO, get out from here and go to IO’s party to talk about politics” she warned.

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She also asked them to understand that SPLM/A-IO is no longer relevant. Anyone who wants to talk about “IO go to IO Party”, she said.

The defence minister was talking as a government official not any longer a member of the SPLM/A-IO.

In a video broadcast by SSBC, the honourable minister believes, there is no need for SPLM/A-IO soldiers to identify themselves with such a name since the country is no longer at war.

Social media users, especially members of the SPLM-IO were quickly angered and aired their frustrations by the latest comments from the minister.

“It’s clear that Angelina & her husband are part of Kiir’s government, here she’s telling IO to get out and go to IO’s party as a government official,” said Nyajany Joshua Dei Wal from Victoria, Australia.

She wondered why such a statement would come out from Hon. Angelina since they are the same people leading the opposition movement.

“And they’re the same people leading IO and government at the same time, what’s going on here??”

Angelina’s comment seems not appropriate according to the agreement. Her comments contradicted Chapter 2 article 2.4.1 of the security arrangements which stipulated that “all the heads of opposition armed groups shall continue as commander-in-chief of their forces until the end of the Pre-Transitional Period or until the end of the Unification process”.

Thousands of the SPLM/A-IO soldiers are yet to be unified into the national army. With this comment from the minister, indeed, the SPLM/A-IO is no longer relevant as some of the vital institutions representing SPLM/A-IO during the Pre-Transitional period became functionless.

South Sudan’s civil war reportedly killed more than 450,000 people. Hundreds of thousands are still living inside the UN compound across the country. Millions of people risk starvation, and several million more displaced into the neighbouring countries as refugees.

The recent peace agreement signed between President Kiir and his long-time foe, Dr. Riek Machar in 2018 in Khartoum, Sudan brought them together in Juba early this year to end the nearly 8 years civil war.

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