April 24, 2014 (JUBA) - President Salva Kiir on Wednesday relieved the South Sudanese army’s (SPLA) chief of general staff James Hoth Mai, together with the head of military intelligence, Major General Mac Paul Kuol.
- SPLA chief of staff General James Hoth Mai (Photo Larco Lomayat)
The official South Sudan Television and Radio, also separately broadcasted presidential decrees announcing the appointment of Paul Malong Awan, as the new chief of general staff.
Also Police Major General, Marial Nuor Jok, was taped to replace General Kuol as the new head of military intelligence.
The new chief of general staff until his appointment was a sitting of governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. He was replaced with Kuel Aguer Kuel as the new caretaker governor.
No reason was given for the new changes, although several government officials and analysts attributed the cause to the current military setbacks in multiple fronts in the three states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei, where the army is struggling to quell spiraling rebellion.
Many observers say they were not surprised by the decision, because it is a tradition in any country that changes is introduced into any institutions of government where performance had fallen.
Rebel spokesperson, Brigadier General Lul Koang Ruai, said the removal of General Mai and Kuol and their subsequent replacements by Awan and Jok, who are seen as the architects and masterminds of Juba Massacre, marks the beginning of an “imminent bloodbath, escalation and regionalisation of the conflict”.
“By removing Generals Hoth and Kuol, Kiir has finally unplugged the last safety valve and glue that had partially kept together his faltering regime in the last four months,” Ruai said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday.