July 21, 2016, The SPLM-IO in Western Bahr el Ghazal has announced that a number of government officials from the Lol State government have defected to their side.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, Brig. Augustino Charles, the commander of SPLM/A-IO in Western Bahr el Ghazal, said the defectors include mayor of Raja town James Benjamin, Sebastiano Kornelio, Karlo Augustino, the director of police in Raja, and the medical director of Raja hospital Benson Taban along with another 25 people from the military.
“The mayor of Raja town James Benjamin, Judge Sebastiano Kornelio, the director of police in Raja Karlo Augustino and his brother, the medical director of Raja hospital Benson Taban with 25 other military personnel has defected from the government. They are with us right now in the opposition camp in Western Bahr el Ghazal,” said Charles.
He said the government officials are now in the camps of the opposition in Western Bahr el Ghazal.
Meanwhile, the acting Mayor of Raja al Amin Janga said they have received reports that the mayor of Raja James Benjamin and others have entered Deim al Zubair east of Raja and stormed some government building and left towards Khor Tumbak area with other citizens and children.
The town Deim Zubeir lies between Raja and Wau along the main route.
In an interview with Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday, Janga said they did not officially confirm the defection of James Benjamin, but he confirmed he was appointed as the acting Mayor of Raja by the Governor of Lol State due to the absence of the Mayor James Benjamin.
Lol State is one of 28 new state governments created by Salva Kiir that some in the opposition have rejected as illegitimate an illegal. Opponents of the new Lol government briefly overran Raja in June.