Riek Machar has removed two members of the Joint Defence Board (JDB) representing his opposition group SPLM-IO without clear reason.

In a letter dated January 8, Riek Machar, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), replaced Lt. Gen. James Koang Chuol and Lt. Gen. Yiei Dak Wie.

Lt. Gen. James Koang serves as SPLA-IO’s deputy chief of staff for administration and finance, while Lt. Gen. Yiei Dak serves as the group’s director general of national security and intelligence.

In another order, Machar appointed Lt. Gen. Gabriel Duop Lam and Brig. Gen. Pal Yiech to the Joint Defence Board.

Paul Lam Gabriel, a deputy spokesman for the opposition SPLA-IO confirmed the order saying the reason for the two generals’ replacement remains unclear.

“I can confirm that Lt. Gen. Gabriel Duop Lam, the SPLA-IO deputy chief of staff for operations, and Brig. Gen. Pal Yiech have been appointed to the JDB. I don’t know the reason for the replacement that happened, but deployment is a normal administrative procedure in the military,” Lam explained.

The defence mechanism was set up in 2018 at the level of chiefs of staff and directors general of national security service, police and all other organized forces.

The Joint Defence Board (JDB) is a joint mechanism tasked with command and control over all forces during the pre-transitional period.