The spokesperson of the SPLA-IO on Wednesday said First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar is still the Commander-in-Chief of the outfit’s forces in assembly areas until the unification process is completed.
Col. Lam Paul Gabriel told Radio Tamazuj Wednesday that the status of the SPLA-IO’s Commander-in-Chief remains in place and will end only after the unification of all forces.
On Tuesday while presiding over the pass out of over 20,000 National Unified Forces, President Salva Kiir said he was now the sole Commander-in-Chief in the country he urged the graduating troops to refrain from politics and tribalism.
The agreement stipulated the formation of a single army consisting of 83,000 soldiers but the parties agreed to graduate an initial batch of 35,000 due to challenges.
“The position of Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA-IO will end only after the unification and distribution of all forces,” Col. Lam said. “After the process of unifying the forces that are still in the training centers and introducing the second batch to the training centers and graduating them, there will be a unified army under one commander.”
“At that time, if you are affiliated to the government or the opposition, you will be under the responsibility of President Salva Kiir, the Commander-in-Chief of the army in South Sudan,” he added.
Col. Lam however acknowledged that the Unified National Forces who graduated on Tuesday are under the command of President Kiir.