Home | News    Tuesday 25 March 2014

Disabled South Sudanese soldiers stage protest over unpaid salaries

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March 24, 2014 (JUBA) – Disabled soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) wounded during the recent outbreak of violence in the country staged a protest in the capital, Juba, on Monday, over delays in the payment of their salaries.

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Protesting soldiers seen at the University of Juba junction on 24 March 2014 (ST)

Protesters blocked traffic at the University of Juba junction, setting up roadblocks and throwing stones at passing cars.

Soldiers who spoke to Sudan Tribune said they were protesting over the government’s failure to address a number of issues affecting military personnel, including delays in salary payments.

Soldiers have complained about delays in salary payments and the omission of names on the payroll.

One soldier, who now uses a walking stick to keep himself upright, told Sudan Tribune that he had not been paid for four months.

“The rebels wounded us and these people (government authorities) don’t want to pay our salaries,” he said on condition of anonymity.

Captain Dut Wal, who is one of those affected, told Sudan Tribune on Monday that authorities had not yet responded to any of the demands made by soldiers or taken action to address payment issues.

He said it was unfortunate that the government appeared not to appreciate the contribution of armed forces to the defence of the country.

“This is a peaceful demonstration. The essence of it is to draw the attention of the government so that some of the issues we have raised through [the] administrative chain of command and have not until now been addressed are brought to the attention of the senior leadership,” he said.

SOLDIERS LEFT OFF PAYROLL

Sergeant Major Abui Samson said he was left “speechless and angry” after learning his name was not listed on the army payroll despite being wounded in active combat.

“Actually I realised I made a wrong choice and grave mistake in joining the army. I thought I was responding to the national call to defend our country, hoping that the leadership would also look after me and the family,” Samson told Sudan Tribune.

“I want the public to tell me whether I and some of my colleagues have [made] a mistake in joining the army. I also want to the public to tell us whether we have [done] anything wrong to ask for payment. And whether it is right to omit the name of someone in hospital bed still recovering from wound like you can you?” he added.

SPLA spokesperson Col. Philip Aguer has admitted that some have not received their January salaries.

He said the issue arose after soldiers wounded in conflict zones were transferred to the capital for treatment as there is no automatic system set up to transfer money to hospital.

“The SPLA general headquarters is working on this issue and it will be resolved quickly,” Aguer said without providing a specific date.

ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUE

Cabinet affairs minister Martin Elia Lomuro said the government was working to address the “administrative” issue with “care and respect”.

“The leadership is handling it with care and respect. The situation has now been brought under control,” Lomuro told reporters on Monday.

The finance minister said his ministry had offered solutions for the issues raised by the soldiers, but did not elaborate further on how the matter would be resolved.

Wal, however, accused the government of “sitting on the issue”.

“Some of our colleagues are regretting and angered by behaviour of some government officials. If you cannot solve the issue brought to you, then why don’t push it ahead to someone who would handle it or forward it to the next level,” he said.

The protest remained peaceful throughout, with soldiers later retreating to their hospital beds.

This is not the first time soldiers have gone on strike over unpaid salaries, with similar action also taken in March 2009.

At least 60 soldiers were killed earlier this month after fighting erupted at Juba’s Geida military barracks following a dispute over salary payments.

Heavy gunfire erupted inside the barracks on the morning of 5 March while salaries were in the process of being paid, sparking widespread panic among city residents already jittery from mid-December clashes which erupted at the same facility between rival factions of the presidential guards.

It is undersood the incident occurred after some soldiers attempted to collect the salaries on behalf of some of their colleagues who were not listed on the payroll, but this was refused as government employees are now required to collect payments in person. The measures were implemented under a government directive to ensure wages are not paid to so-called “ghost” workers or those who do not show up during the payment period.

(ST)

- Salary dispute within S. Sudan army triggers heavy gunfire in Juba
- Scores dead in S. Sudan military clashes in Juba: eyewitnesses

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  • 25 March 05:30, by padiit gaga

    Look how foolishly this president he paid Uganda army he did not paid SPLA who protect the land. Many will rebel b/c he fail to support they wings of the land.

    repondre message

    • 25 March 06:05, by padiit gaga

      Many will cry a lot ’ oil money are not enough to support two nations Uganda and SPLA while our blind president still bagging for help from other countries. Who will support those armies? Iam superize a lot for one tribe who defeated many tribes included other nation. I never been in Nuer land I do not know how mucth they are. If it was war b/n Nuer and Dinka’ Dinka should leave south but is no

      repondre message

    • 25 March 06:26, by Mi diit

      The elite officers are liars. They have removed from pay sheets (or lists) real soldiers and kept ghost names for themselves.

      repondre message

  • 25 March 06:34, by Joseph Canada

    Well people are told how corrupt and nepotistic money grabbing the south Sudanese and ilitrate Kiirs leadership is and no one listened. In the frontline Dinka soldiers run to the U N compounds. National army is adressed in Dinka language. Tell me if this is patriotic. Kiir must go

    repondre message

    • 25 March 07:07, by Gangura

      Goverment of Kirr and his stupid Dinkas fellow are in fact idiot, the reason why we Equatorians want to join Machar is becoz of all this kind of mismanagement & poor admistration, how could you be apresident without objectives for your own soldiers? even we who voted for Kirr never enjoy it is those idiot Dinkas who are enjoying, anyway no problem time as come for him to say Bye-Bye to Presidency.

      repondre message

  • 25 March 07:04, by Mapuor

    Its extremely stupid to blame the delay of salary on the president.There is ministry for Finance,army directorate of administration and Finance.You can not blame even the minister of Defense or his chief of General staffs for omission.just blame pay masters.Those pay masters are the worse corrupt elements along with directors of all branches.

    repondre message

  • 25 March 17:29, by Majongdit

    There are people around President Salva who are working to fail him deliberately. Apart from the soldiers even the civil servants have not been paid dues right from February to March. Is oil still shut down? Dont let our people regret why they chose to support their gov’t. If our people don’t get their salaries on time, you also make them stay to experience no difference from rebels.

    repondre message

    • 25 March 17:34, by Majongdit

      I am a staunch supporter of President Salva but I hate people around him. Aggrey Tisa Sabuni is notably known for his long term hatred of the SPLM agenda, but now he heads the crucial Ministry of Finance. That is the best place for him to spoil SPLM and bring Salva down.
      The people joke that Salva has put around him 9 pieces of soap that fail to do any proper cleaning.
      I appeal to my President

      repondre message

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