Source: Radio Tamazuj
More than a thousand soldiers of South Sudan’s national army (SPLA) have deserted their positions at the Jonglei front and headed back toward key towns or toward their home base, after the army delayed in paying their salaries.
SPLA Spokesman Col. Philip Aguer told Juba Monitor for its Wednesday edition that the army still controlled Gadiang in spite of mass defections from the frontline area.
He admitted the desertion of SPLA forces in Jonglei but downplayed it saying, “the issue of desertion is not a new thing in the army, it did happen during the time of struggle… it’s an administrative issue that the SPLA will handle.”
Juba Monitor further reported that the defecting forces are said to number more than 1000 soldiers who left Gadiang and crossed the Nile into Lakes state en route to Bahr al Ghazal region.
Aguer emphasized that the problem is purely administrative and not political.
Several hundred soldiers also arrived from the front to Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, last week or earlier this week. They have been demanding food and money from local residents and traders.
This group is smaller and not from the same division as the largest group, which is reported still to be in Lakes state and moving on foot.