Two top South Sudanese rebel commanders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) have abandoned the rebel ranks and surrendered to Ugandan security officials in Lamwo District, northern Uganda.
Maj Gen Benjamin Luboi and another officer only identified as Brig Taban reportedly surrendered on Monday last week to Uganda People’s Defence Forces soldiers in Padibe Sub-county, Lamwo District, after fleeing from Imatong State in South Sudan.
Ugandan security officials said Maj Gen Luboi was the SPLA-IO commander in charge of Pajok sector, in Pajok County, Imatong State, where the South Sudan government troops recently launched offensives against various militias and rebels operating in the area.
SPLA-IO rebel group led by former vice president Riek Machar split from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 2013 following clashes between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and his then deputy Dr Riek Machar.
Mr Jonathan Rutabingwa, the Lamwo Resident District Commissioner, confirmed to Daily Monitor the surrender of the SPLA-IO top commanders on Monday.
He said Maj Gen Luboi surrendered with three of his bodyguards and all wore civilian clothes and had no guns.
Mr Rutabingwa said the duo in their statements at Padibe Police Station in Padibe Sub-county said they abandoned SPLA-IO because the war wasn’t “profiting and yielding any successes”.
He said the commanders were later handed over to the UNHCR after a brief interrogation by the Uganda Security officials comprising UPDF and the police.
But Mr Titus Jogo, the refugee desk officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, denied any knowledge of the presence of Maj Gen Luboi and Brig Taban in Uganda.