DENIED: Former SPLA chief Deng Ajak

A former South Sudanese army (SPLA) chief has dismissed claims that he joined rebellion under former Vice President Riek Machar.

General Oyai Deng Ajak, a senior member of the country’s ruling party, described the allegations made by South Sudan presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny, as false.

Ateny Wek Ateny claimed on Thursday that Ajak had joined ex-First Vice President Riek Machar’s rebel faction as the chief of staff.

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“When the time comes, I will make it public to [South] Sudanese people,” Deng Ajak said in an audio shared on Facebook.

The former army chief, however, hinted on the possibilities of taking up arms against President Salva Kiir’s government.

Ateny could not back up his allegations, but a document said to have been signed by Machar to acknowledge Ajak’s appointment was disowned by the armed opposition.

However, in a separate interview held with the Australian-based Dinka language SBS radio, Ajak said he remains an member of the country’s former political detainees.

Ajak was detained at the onset of the South Sudanese conflict in mid-December 2013, along dozen others and charged with treasons by the government. The charges were dropped after pressure mounted on president Kiir’s government. The former army chief has since not returned to Juba, despite the peace accord signed in August 2015.