February 11, 2017 (JUBA) - A deputy chief of South Sudan army, General Thomas Cirilo, resigned from the army and accused President Salva Kiir and military leadership of spearheading a tribal agenda.
- Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo (R) with commander of presidential guards Maj. Gen. Marial Chanuong at Juba airport on November 5, 2014 (ST).
Gen. Cirillo, who hails from Equatoria region, was the deputy chief of SPLA for logistics.
Gen. Cirillo, who is a Bari like vice president James Wani Igga, is the highest military officer from Equatoria. His resignation is significant as could cause tribal in-balance in the military. He did not indicate if he will join any armed group or remain in the capital Juba.
In a six-page letter of resignation seen by Sudan Tribune, Gen. Cirillo claimed that the country is been dominated by Dinka tribe of President Kiir and the army has been turned to tribal militia that targets non-Dinka ethnicities.
He accused the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, the Chief of Staff General Paul Malong of "deliberately orchestrated planned violations" of the August 2015 peace agreement" which led to fighting in Juba in July last year.
"The President and these SPLA officers have systematically frustrated the implementations of the peace agreement and pursued the agenda of Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) of ethnic cleansing, forceful displacement of people from the their ancestral lands and ethnic domination," he said.
"At this juncture, I can no longer continue to be part of the ongoing destruction of our beloved country by the same army," he stressed.
Cirillo, also accused the President Kiir and Jieng Council of Eiders,"the real cabinet of the Government" as he said, of " pursuing a strategy of turning the SPLA and other organized forces into brutal tribal forces".
He claims that Dinkas hailing from Bahr el Ghazal region, the home area of the President and the Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen Paul Malong Awan, are now systematically recruited and "promoted to officer ranks have been assigned as commanders of most SPLA units".
The Equatorian general pointed to the Mathiang Anyor tribal militias saying they "deliberately applied policy of scorch earth by burning whole villages, grabbing land, especially in Equatoria, Chollo land and Western Bahr el Ghazal".
he said he had tried to convince the president and "members of Dinka ruling clique" to promote nationalism stop tribal policies but his efforts went in vain and fallen on deaf ears.
"This type of inhuman treatment and the human agony it entails has never happened before, even during the time when Khartoum was ruling South Sudan," he said.
In his long letter, the general spoke about the poor treatment of Equatorian military elements in the army saying they have been kept out of Equatoria since the signing of the CPA in 2005.
However he admitted that this "discrimination and crimes against humanity" are committed on the Dinkas "who are opposed to the policy of discrimination on ethnic bases and destruction of the country".