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S. Sudan army concedes delayed payments caused desertions

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August 6, 2014 (JUBA) – A top South Sudanese army (SPLA) general acknowledged on Wednesday that delays in salary payments was the cause of a series of desertions in June.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) at Jonglei state’s Bor airport after they recaptured the town from rebels (AFP)

At the time a number of soldiers, mostly those recruited from the Bahr el Ghazal region, abandoned their positions on the frontline and returned to their homes amid claims of preferential treatment of foreign troops.

On 16 July in Aweil, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State, around 200 SPLA soldiers abandoned their posts and clashed the government forces due to the lack of payment of salaries.

The same scenario occurred again on 2 August, in Bunj, Maban Country in Upper Nile State, when 20 soldiers deserted and clashed with a local militia called Maban Defence Force.

For the second time a high ranking military officer loyal to the government has confirmed to Sudan Tribunethat the delay in payments was largely responsible for the serious decline in troop morale.

The army general said unlike in the civil administration, army officers are unable to raise their concerns with their superiors without the risk of being questioned or disciplinary action.

The senior military officer, who works in the directorate of finance and administration at the SPLA’s general headquarters, claimed that financial and administrative irregularities had contributed to the delay in payments, which sparked mass desertions on several fronts.

However, he maintained that the motivation for the defections was due to dissatisfaction among army ranks, rather than disloyalty to the government.

“From my experience in the directorate, I have come to know that there are a lot of issues which the government must address as [a] matter of urgency so that the issue of salaries being delayed does not cause dissatisfaction,” he said.

He said the system of promotion within the armed forces was another issue that needed to be addressed in order to boost troop morale.

He claimed that in some instances junior and non-commissioned officers had served in the same rank for more than 20 years without a promotion, adding that the lack of promotion opportunities and delays in payments limited troops’ motivation to fight a prolonged war.

The SPLA has been rocked by a series of defections to the country’s rebel faction, including dozens of top generals, since conflict erupted in mid-December last year.

The fighting, which flared after a political split in South Sudan’s ruling SPLM turned violent, has pitted government troops loyal to president Salva Kiir against rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar.

(ST)

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  • 7 August 2014 08:31, by michael coma

    Those weak soldiers need to be stop from army and amalgamated them to civilians population.Rebels are fighting without salaries but just strong heart.These are guys who never adore to suffering since they were born.

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  • 7 August 2014 08:41, by Mel mosa

    The SPLA has been rocked by a series of defections to the country’s rebel faction, including dozens of top generals, since conflict erupted in mid-December last year.
    This paragraph was add by Sudantribune but has no relation with article. defection generals were greedy nuer who have no vision than killing poor civilians

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  • 7 August 2014 08:59, by Mr Point

    It is shocking that these greedy soldiers have put the needs of themselves and their families above their loyalty to their superiors. The army chiefs who are entitled to siphon off a percentage of defense funds for their own use.

    repondre message

  • 7 August 2014 15:51, by Hardlinner

    Let be factual guys. Those deserting soldiers are partly right. If kiir and other army generals don’t miss their pay, why is it good for common soldier to miss his pay. As longer as those animals in juba don’t care about the soldiers’ welfare, they are the one to blame. I’m pretty sure those soldier would never desert their barracks if they were stationed in their respective states.

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    • 8 August 2014 11:56, by Gangura

      corraptions, neptosim,seggregations, and killing of innicent South Sudanese by Kirr forces is bringing all delays of payment, and how could Kirr paid Uganda forces and failed to pay his own country forces? I wish those soldiers to join Raik Machar who is fighting for freedom. and one of the reason we the rebels are fighting is what had hapened.

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