by Denis Elamu
NAIROBI, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan's Minister of Labor Gabriel Duop Lam resigned on Friday from the transitional unity government (TGoNU) and vowed his allegiance to exiled rebel leader Riek Machar's faction.
Lam, who did not give reasons for his resignation, became the latest official to abandon the cash-starved TGoNU amid fighting between warring factions in the world's youngest nation.
"I Lt.Gen. Gabriel Duop Lam, the national minister of labour in South Sudan with sound mind and excellent reasoning do hereby resign from the position of being the minister of labour in the so called partial government of national unity with effect from Feb. 17," he said in a statement.
Lam was a member of the splinter SPLA-in opposition (SPLA-IO) faction in Juba led by Machar's former chief negotiator Taban Deng Gai who replaced the former as first vice president in the aftermath of renewed clash that broke out in the capital in July, 2016.
The latest development came after last week's resignation of Thomas Cirilo Swaka, deputy head of logistics in the SPLA who cited unfair tribal promotions and deployment of mainly President Salva Kiir's Dinka tribe officers in top command positions, while also accusing them of being behind the horrific killings and rapes in Equatoria region.
The SPLA spokesman denied the accusation leveled at the SPLA, and accused the renegade general of evading investigation of his alleged corruption in the army.
However, information minister Paul Akol Kordit downplayed Lam's resignation, saying there was no official confirmation to TGoNU.
"I have received this information (resignation) through media but so far we don't have information from his party," Kordit told Xinhua in Juba.
He also added that Deng's SPLA-IO faction had not confirmed to them yet on the latest resignation of their minister.
There has been continuous defection of officials on both sides of the divide in the more than three years of devastating conflict in the oil-rich and yet impoverished country, whose economy nears brinkmanship with no donor pleas for aid forthcoming.
South Sudan has been shattered by civil war that broke out in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Machar denied the accusation but then mobilized a rebel force.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 led to the formation of a transitional unity government in April, but was again devastated by fresh violence in July, 2016.
Tens of thousands of South Sudanese have been killed, with over 2 million displaced and another 4.6 million left severely food insecure, since December 2013.