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S. Sudan rebels describe army chief’s confession as “arrogant truth”


July 24, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The South Sudanese rebel faction led by former vice-president Riek Machar said they were not surprised by the recent confession by the army’s chief of general staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, who admitted for the first time that government troops were responsible for renewed violence in the country in violation of a cessation of hostilities agreement.

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South Sudanese army chief Gen. Paul Malong Awan speaking at a Dinka Malual community meeting in Juba on 1 Novemer 2012 (ST)

The 9 May roadmap agreement recommitted the government and rebels to the 23 January cessation of hostilities agreement, also signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Rebels and government officials at the time of the renewed violence in the three states of Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile exchanged accusations over who violated the agreement.

The South Sudanese army chief, at a press conference he conducted on Monday in the capital, Juba, said that attacks by government troops on the rebel positions before the 9 May agreement between president Salva Kiir and Machar were deliberately “calculated” to gain ground prior to the signing of the deal.

However, the SPLM opposition group said they were not surprised by the confession that the government was in fact responsible for the violations.

“We are not surprised by this arrogant, but truthful confession,” said Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak.

He said the government had been violating 23 January cessation of hostilities agreement since the day it was signed, adding that “the international community has to learn something from this late admission.”


Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with the press, another senior rebel official claimed that South Sudanese army backed by tribal militias, were defeated by their fighters within weeks from 15 December crisis until Ugandan army came in with overwhelming air power against them.

“Juba was within our reach a few weeks from the start of the crisis. We captured Bor, Bentiu and Malakal,” the official said, referring to the capitals of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states, respectively.

“We were neutralizing thousands of government troops on Juba-Bor road, and we were marching toward Juba without a significant resistance after we captured Bor,” he said.

The rebel official however admitted that the “fiercest” battle that stopped the rebels in January and forced them to withdraw 90kms from Juba was with Ugandan forces near Mangala town in Central Equatoria state.

“Uganda army then came in with dozens of tanks, other armoured vehicles and thousands of ground troops backed by six helicopter gunships. The six helicopter gunships carried out bombings against our fighters simultaneously for nine hours of the battle until our forces decided to withdraw,” he revealed.

“We have courageous fighters but lack modern war equipments,” he said.


Rebels revealed because they only had AK-47 rifles and didn’t have anti-aircraft or anti-tank missiles and other heavy artilleries they were forced to operate according to an unusual strategy, running straight toward the enemies, and overwhelm them with speed and proximity.

“We didn’t have weapons to bring down a helicopter gunship or destroy a tank. In order to avoid firepower from heavy artilleries hitting us from a distance, our fighters tactically used speed and proximity.

He said rebel fighters always preferred to fight government troops within close ranges of only about 10 meters apart, dislodge them and chase the enemy at that very close distance.

The tanks and other heavy weapons used by government forces, he said, were always left with no option but to either surrender or run without shooting because they couldn’t tell who was who in the battle fields.

He however said the rebel fighters got a challenge when Ugandan helicopter gunships began to drop overwhelming firepower targeting them tens or hundreds of kilometres away from enemy positions.


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  • 25 July 2014 06:43, by George Bol

    No crying yet. Gen. Paul Malong isn’t playing. You must surrender and us Riek Machar without any condition; other go exile.

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    • 25 July 2014 06:44, by George Bol

      No crying yet. Gen. Paul Malong isn’t playing. You must surrender and give us Riek Machar without any condition; other go exile.

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      • 25 July 2014 07:14, by Mi diit

        George Bol,

        Wait and see who will cry in the next two to three months of wet season. Your god-father museveni wants to withdraw UPDF. Don’t beg him to fight for you, kids. I will stop commenting on sudan tribune if kiir will reach Dec. 15 as a president, the day he started massacring thousands of innocent Nuer civilians in Juba.

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        • 25 July 2014 07:51, by Monydit

          you will regret in Canada there ,president Salva Kiir will be your president until 2020 if you dont change your Mind of supporting Blind man call Riakbaai machar from TONJ North County and he when and pool Nuer that he is Nuer from Leer shamme on you Mi- Diit wiz your riakbaai Machar

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          • 25 July 2014 09:45, by Mi diit


            Ahahahahahahaaaaaa.....you are truly born to lie. Or are you a fool as your name indicates. I mean mony in many languages including Amharic mean "fool." In 1989 an Ethiopian laughed at Deng Alor in Addis Ababa when another Dinka called him mony. The Ethiopian asked the poor Dinka why he called his boss a fool. Ahahahaa............

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        • 25 July 2014 09:36, by Chol A.

          @Midiit what wet season are you talking about? Don’t you see we are now in wet season as we speak!! I know it summer time in America and it now wet season in South Sudanese even they way to Nasir was too mady but reinforcement had made it last Sunday. If you talking of next year wet season then you are right but no time left for next year wet season my dear otherwise you too blind to determine tim

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        • 25 July 2014 11:08, by Mapuor

          Hahahah SPLA’s Tempo and fire power is superior to that of white army who are nothing but untrained and unprincipled rural youth. Your tactics of proximity and speed are out dated and were used in China before Christ. Modernity in military context sees speed and proximity as barbaric and costly in both human and material. Why expose thousands of illiterate youth to modern weapons whose ba

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          • 25 July 2014 11:13, by Mapuor

            Why expose thousands of illiterate youth to modern weapons whose barrage can clear thousands in seconds?Is the current war justified?Better come to your senses and surrender immediately dear MIDIIT.Continuation of the war will finish illiterate Nuer youth who are the only ones fighting.

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    • 25 July 2014 09:49, by Mr Point

      How is peace possible?

      Salva Kiir arranged the killling of hundreds of Nuer in Juba without reason, without accountability.

      How would they be safe while Kiir remains President?

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  • 25 July 2014 08:21, by Madina Tonj

    Most of the Nuers supporters of Riek Machar Teny don’t even evaluated the situations. Please advice your ucle Riek Machar to accept this round peace talks otherwise, the Gambela region in Ethiopia and Holts are not heaven. The past,the whole Equatoria regions were captured in the absence of Riek Machar. Half of Bahr el Ghazal States were captured while, Nuers were not present and Dinkas did it.

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  • 26 July 2014 06:51, by Hardlinner

    Gatdet dak is a big liar. This naive wannabe reporter can’t even understand the 10 metres gap. I hoped he meant to say 100 metres. Not even war of spears could be fought within proximity of 10 metres. Gatdet should also know that the defected nuer generals took all their equipments including tanks and heavy weaponaries. Uganda troop were only stationed at juba-bor road.

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    • 26 July 2014 08:47, by Mi diit


      Please see, read and understand the article properly before throwing useless comments.

      It was not Gatdet who said 10 meters gap. Read the article again.

      But even so, do you think 10 meters gap in close clashes is not possible? Ahahahhaaaaa…. I know you are such a coward who can never get very close to the enemy.

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      • 26 July 2014 12:32, by Hardlinner

        Mi diit,my bad on miss quote. But again 10 metre is never a range for open battle field. Even an ambush at that distance is impossible. Mi diit, it is naive of you to called me coward when infact you have never seen my characteristics. I won’t called you one for the fact that don’t know your background. But I can indeed called you stupid based on your illogical comments.

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  • 26 July 2014 07:01, by Hardlinner

    Government soldiers fucked rebels badly in states like upper nile and unity. Uganda didn’t in any way help in capture of those states capitals and their surrounding town. It so sad on riek rebels that the very nuer people they deceived into joining their baseless rebellion, have now come know the war of greed that riek is fighting is senseless and stupid.

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