Home | News    Tuesday 1 April 2014

Top security officers in Western Bahr el Ghazal defect to Machar rebellion

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March 31, 2014 (JUBA) – Senior security officers in South Sudan’s border state of Western Bahr el Ghazal have defected to rebel forces under the leadership of former vice-president Riek Machar.

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Thousands of soldiers have defected from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) since conflict erupted in mid-December, including a number of high profile commanding officers (Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

The officers made the public declaration at Farajallah, an area located about 40km south-west of state capital Wau, where sources claim they announced they were leaving “the most corrupt and tyrannical regime” in South Sudan to join the “people’s revolution”.

The leader of the group remains unknown, although Western Bahr el Ghazal police commissioner Gen. Akot Deng Akot identified one of the officers as Maj. Martin Libira Logo.

In a statement broadcast by state-owned South Sudan Television (SSTV) on Sunday, Akot said the security situation in the state remained relatively calm despite the defections.

Logo’s desertion was reportedly related to an offer from the rebel movement to promote him to the rank of Major General.

The whereabouts of Logo and the officers remained unknown, although security authorities have launched a search.

According to Akot, authorities in the area have been closely monitoring the activities of some politicians and officers, including Logo.

Some sources suggested the officers may have been smuggled out of area during an attempt to launch a rebellion in Wau town at the airport and Busere area.

HIGH-PROFILE DEFECTIONS

Dozens of army generals have defected since political tensions erupted in violence in mid-December last year, pitting pro-Machar rebels against forces loyal to the Salva Kiir-led national government.

Zonal commanders from the South Sudanese army’s (SPLA) 8th, 4th and 7th divisions were among those to switch their allegiance from the government.

Maj. Gen. Peter Gadet Yak, who was commanding the SPLA’s 8th division in Jonglei state, was the first senior military officer to break ranks and declare armed opposition to the government.

General Yak claimed his action was necessitated by the killing of innocent civilians from his Nuer ethnic group in Juba by SPLA forces.

It is alleged that the atrocities were predominantly carried out by members of the Dinka ethnic group from Kiir’s Bahr el Ghazal region.

Prior to his defection, Yak had been responsible for the state’s disarmament process, overseeing the collection of firearms and other illicit weapons in the region.

James Koang Chuol, a 4th division commander, followed suit, declaring himself Unity state’s caretaker governor. He claimed he had been under pressure from officers to act or risk being killed.

Thousands of South Sudanese soldiers from the Nuer ethnic group have either defected or fled the country over the past few months, although the numbers have not yet reached a level that would threaten the regime and most of the complex infrastructure of the government’s multiple security and intelligence branches remains in place.

Politicians from the Bahr el Ghazal region are currently participating in peace talks in Ethiopia being mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as part of the Machar-led delegation.

Representatives from the Greater Equatoria region who share the same views on the root cause of the conflict have also declared their support for Machar.

CHANGING MOOD

Observers have expressed fear it is only a matter of time before mass defection and recruitment across the country takes place against the government, which has been widely criticised for failing to deliver basic services and adequate protection to ordinary citizens and their properties, particularly in the three states of the Upper Nile region.

One local observer who spoke on condition of anonymity told Sudan Tribune on Monday that citizens have increasingly lost trust in the current administration and are looking for change.

The alleged involvement of the army in ethnic-related violence had also raised tensions, he said.

“The destruction of cities and villages, and the commission of massacres against certain ethnic group and people – mostly defenceless civilians who [knew] little about political differences – had prompted many military officers and politicians to switch allegiance,” he added.

(ST)

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  • 1 April 07:27, by Akol Liai Mager

    It’s a World of Wonders where people say they are leaving the most corrupted and are joining the most killer of the people. So pathetic.

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    • 1 April 07:42, by Mi diit

      This a very bold decision to leave the corrupt, incompetent and mass murderer Mrs Akiir Museveni. Kiir and his thugs will regret it soon during the wet season. Uganda army will have difficulty displaying its tanks, and other armored vehicles. Defections to the rebels side will be on the rise and you will be forced out of Juba.

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      • 1 April 08:48, by Son of Ngundeng

        Ya Ya Ya, Gatmar nii mii diit,
        Anybody know his/her right to defect from tiik yual, very great job done, to our comarde who defect from the home town of drankers called Barghazalian. Lead your groups and joint the F.F. Kiir he is looking for Dr to delete his mark on his head right now, after that he need to get the Nuer mark, sorry brother Kiir we will not accept you as one of our community.

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    • 1 April 11:03, by Tong dut

      What is wrong people? stop war, let us wait for election.
      You wants to kill more people,while you said you wants rule.
      That is wrong for those who wants power by force.Death to them all.

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      • 2 April 04:14, by Bentiu son

        What a fabulous News today? Welcome comrades from Greater Fertiit whose loved relatives,friends/tribal mates were massacred by killer Salva Kiir’s Dinka militias in 2012 in Wau.Under Salva Kiir brutal regime governing by constant Presidential decrees, South Sudan will be in turmoil,chaos,anarchy and lawless State or failed State with bloodbath basket.

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  • 1 April 07:30, by Gat Gan Kiir

    What a brilliant decision, I welcome you and your group to freedom fighters forces. You deserved respect from your colleagues and I congratulate you for your decision.

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    • 1 April 11:38, by BM-21

      MI DIIT.
      Your husband Dr Riak Machar has Died,where will you go ?

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  • 1 April 07:45, by Black Africa

    President Kiir, South Sudan under your leadership has failed,if you care about the people of South Sudan it is better for you to resign early before things become worse.

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  • 1 April 07:47, by Jubawe

    The whole country is going to defect exclusive Dinka from the government not because of Dr Riak but because Kirr fail to deliver services to the public, still too early more are going to defect, it’s better for Kirr to step down before too late, but because of Dinka mind he will going mess him with his advices

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  • 1 April 08:03, by Chol A.

    These are Nuer militias who were currently being siege in wau during Mrs. traitor Nyariek staged his fail coup in Juba and they have no way to join him. If these Nuer officers got the chance to leave than it not a panic because it Nuer‘s usual business to surrendered and come back. The other man is known of being militia here in Wau since, now he took prisoners guide salaries and run away!

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  • 1 April 09:42, by Jubawe

    Chol A. If every day people are defecting is it usually you call it, soon the whole tribes exclude Dinka will defect not because of Dr Riak but because of president Kirr, he fail to lead the nation, he brought tribalism, corruption and committed genocide against his own civilian, doesn’t from Nuer shuluk or Madi still civilian of his nation, Special the of we liberate South Sudan nobody will beli

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  • 1 April 09:49, by Jubawe

    If president Kirr did not step down, there will be a NEW NATION CALL REPUBLIC OF GREATER EQUATORIA, we will silvar Kirr going to hide, IDP IN UGANDA, Equatorian are now keeping Kirr in his position of president soon if he going abusing civilian Greater Equatorial are ready to throw him out but peace first, we need our brothers Nuer to come back after Kirr step down.

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    • 1 April 10:12, by John The President

      Jubawe
      let me remind you a bit, we are for change yes, however we don’t and shall never accept thechange of gov’t by force, the real change must come from the people in a peaceful manner, just to let you know, more lives will be lost if anyone has a dream to take the leadership by force. the best way to go about it is, pressuring the rebel to negotiate in good face otherwise and attempt would.....

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      • 1 April 10:18, by John The President

        .. What has happened in greater Uppernile is a good example that justifies our madness and some of you are yearning for more dead, forcing Kiir out of Juba is just expensive than the war has caused us already.

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        • 1 April 10:27, by John The President

          This are the same group who were vocal and wanted to bring Garang, their slogan of "Garang must go" did not bear fruits other than surrendering to enemy in Khartuom, this year of 2014, the same sologan is being sung in Kiir hears and the peace loving South Sudanese "Kiir must go". let wait to whether Kiir will go. Garang resisted becuase their objectives were not match the people espirations.

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  • 2 April 04:41, by Emporio

    The country is on the edge of mass is shame on bahr el ghazal Region they are the majority of dinka they can’t produce even one leader to continue the vision of late father founder of south dr granag

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  • 2 April 04:59, by Jubawe

    John The President
    i don’t know weather you still think your are in bush, this dates Gun don’t take people right and doesn’t bring peace, peace comes through Dialogue, there’s nothing call throw Kirr out of Juba is expensive than war we had, there’s something call people power, people doesn’t like you there, you can’t force yourselves which is happening with kirr ( Dinka mentallity, soon u will go

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  • 2 April 05:54, by Emporio

    What you guys talking about is too expensive to kick a skin head cowboy ass and is too cheap to kill a a thousand of citizen incompetent cowboy is not capable of handling the war he started from the first place and event wasn’t capable of developing nation during the peace

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