Home | News    Wednesday 11 February 2009

Nhial tells S. Sudan MPs: ‘SPLA trained to fight rather than keep order’


By Isaac Vuni

February 10, 2009 (JUBA) – The Minister of SPLA Affairs Lt. Gen. Nhial Deng Nhial, appointed on December 22, 2008, today responded to a summons of the August House requesting him to make a statement on the security situation in the metropolitan capital Juba and the states.

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A soldier of SPLA stands guard during the official visit of UNSG Ban Ki-moon to the south Sudan’s capital Juba Sept 4, 2007.

Responding to accusations and allegations from governors, Nhial reminded the August House that SPLA have been trained to fight rather than to enforce law and order as some people are advocating within the Sudanese community today.

Ethnic and sectional fights have taken a horrendous toll on human lives particularly in Lakes, Warrap, Upper Nile, Unity and parts of Eastern Equatoria states. The minister noted that cattle rustling has become a deadly activity costing human lives as raiders operate with impunity in these states.

Nhial moreover pointed to redeployment of Sudan Army Forces (SAF) in contravention of the 2005 peace agreement, creating a major security threat to the South; by contrast, he said that SPLA completed its redeployment from Eastern Sudan, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.

According to Nhial, the SAF practice of arming of civilians has stepped up for Arab tribes straddling the North-South border with the aim of destabilizing the South.

Further he noted that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) poses a menace in Eastern, Central and Western Equatoria states. He cited figures that from December 2008 to January 2009, 43 people were killed and six injured. Hence SPLA deployed four Divisions from its Brigades, in Kajokeji, Kaya ,Bazi, Morobo, Yei, Lasu, Tore, Mapoko and Goli while a Commando Brigade deployed along Juba-Yei road. He added that LRA still remain elusive as they are also being guided by fellow Sudanese including political negotiation tactics with the Uganda government.


Consequently the minister outlined before the lawmakers a possible action plan for reducing insecurity in ten states of South Sudan. Above all, the plan calls for forcible disarmament of civil populations and other persons not authorized to bear arms.

But rather than making use of the usual SPLA forces, Nhial proposed that South Sudan could establish a special broadly representative force for the task. After they underwent special training, the special troops would disarm communities and make continuous searches to prevent suspected groups from rearming.

Nhial called on the regional parliament to allocate adequate resources for the force. He also called for dignity, respect of fundamental human rights, and respect for rule of law when disarming.

Finally, he recommended imposing the death penalties in lieu of traditional compensation practices as a deterrent to the practice of taking human lives with impunity.


Regarding accusations leveled by MPs that the Warrap Governor is compelling citizens to contribute 50 bulls monthly for feeding SPLA, Nhial said that such collections used to be done during the war but now that parliamentarians have approved a budget for upkeep and equipping of soldiers, he questioned the governor’s directive.

But he also argued that the inability of SPLA commanders to respond to the demanding situation was due to the limited to resources at their disposal. For instance, there is a lack of water supply for SPLA in Magwi area, though this would soon be taken care of by SPLA authority, he noted.

Meanwhile Jonglei State Governor Kuol Manyang Juk said security situation in Jonglei has worsened since he took over administration of the state. Since weather conditions in the state do not favour agricultural production, six ethnic groups opt to raise cattle at the same time. A fierce trade in cattle and abducted children abduction of children goes on as the pastoralists carry superior weapons than the police.

Governor Juk added that in total 117 persons were killed and 32 children abducted as of yesterday from the Pari area of Eastern Equatoria state.

The Jonglei leader suspected that cattle raiders could be SPLA deserters who are in full uniforms and have no respect for traditional leaders including chiefs, as they take law into their hands; hence the governor could only protect civil population when it has a monopoly of power, he noted.

“If we want to be in peace, we must disarm our civilian population, otherwise, there is a serious breakdown of law and order in Jonglei state,” cautioned the governor.


According to Hon. Maker Benjamin, currently the majority of police deployed in Jonglei are war-disabled persons. He said that the split within SPLM/A movement in August 1991 created more than fifteen movements including establishment of the White Army under Dr. Riek Machar that devastated the Bor people.

Hon. Beatrice disclosed that Captain William in Magwi garrison was the source of supplying guns to Dinka pastoralists occupying areas of Eastern and Central Equatoria and demanded for his arrest by SPLA authority.

Returnees to the area complain that the Jonglei pastoralists occupying their farmlands are seemingly backed by senior former SPLA officers and current government officials. They have demanded a fixed period of evacuation by the pastoralists.

Hon. Beatrice also complained that SPLA are denying civilians borehole water, especially the affected returnees. The MP added that the parliamentary team selected to investigate the issue had failed to report to the House and was afraid of rich people, hence they only wrote their reports pledging that the governor of Jonglei would forcefully collect his people from Magwi in Eastern Equatoria and other affected states back to their original state.

Hon. Oliver Mari Benjamin suggested that some of the ongoing raids are over competition for appointments to the new cabinet of the Government of Southern Sudan, since some leaders have surrendered their land for the sake of getting a position in the current government.

Hon. Toby Madut said pastoralists have rights to live in any part of southern Sudan and those who commit crimes must be arrested and punish by law, adding that there are some blocks of people in the House against pastoralists.


The governor of Central Equatoria state, Clement Wani Konga, posited that there are three major causes of insecurity in Juba city.

First, Sudanese “niggers” (a derogatory term used for returnees from abroad, sometimes to designate non-customary cultural practices) who came from Egypt are more deadly and eliminate their colleagues who opt to desert the groups, said Konga, noting that most are children of senior government officials.

The second major instigators of insecurity are disgruntled soldiers who have not received their salaries or were left out of assimilation exercises, he said.

Third are foreign criminals from Kenya, Uganda and South Africa specialized in snatching jewelry from women while on motorbikes, soldiers carrying firearms home and land-grabbing by senior government officials and squatters, he said.

He recommended the following measures to be taken immediately to restore dignity in the city: there should be cooperation and coordination with security organs in south Sudan; adherence to directives of the GOSS president that arms should be stored; intensification of security training to foster and instill disciplines among forces; and assurance that all soldiers live in barracks instead of residential areas.

Finally, the governor assured the Assembly that three persons were arrested and are under investigation over the killing of four people on December 31, 2009.


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  • 11 February 2009 05:03, by Marial-chol

    Dear fellows citizens of Southern Sudan,do these things and everything will be okay: ties security throught out the southern sudan ten states,disarm unauthorized arms forces and civillians,created laws that intervence with aggressive and offence to any citizen,arrest a lawless group and take them,especially far from city[ set up a big jail in buma area with big fence or gate], monitoring the movement of National Congress party elements in the southern, Monitoring network through SPLA/M Security agents,trained FBI by the help of Isreali, give every body a number to keep his records of crimines and successes like social security in United States.Give every body state identy and birth certificate. Make regristeration through out the ten states from vincity level, Goss must have contact with local cheifs and carry out oreintation on how laws should be practice through out ten states in Southern, there must be local laws to confronte civillians’s dailly activities.
    Understand me better and give me an opportunity if there are no legesilators who can created laws in GOSS if there are perished, as well as those who can enforced them. Thanks.

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    • 11 February 2009 10:05, by Gatwech

      Oh, God, what a parliament!

      What I don’t like most with this so-called Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) is that they don’t think nationally, but tribally or regionally. Whenever I read news coming out of Parliament it is always disgusting as you could see how it divides on tribal and regional lines as members defend their regional or tribal interests. Their decisions carry no quality at all because they always end up just lamenting and attacking each other. This parliament has really become a dumping ground for unworthy want to be politicians. They would better represent their clans or tribes as chiefs than as MPs. Where are the resolutions to the problems and accusations? Nothing from the parliament. I was told by a reliable source close to the parliament that they just sleep in parliament and do not follow up serious issues under deliberation unless it turns hot tribal debate than they all wake up to defend their tribes and regions accusing that leader or that tribe or that regional for those and these problems, etc. I also want the reporter Isaac Vuni not to write like somebody taking minutes of the deliberations. We need the resolutions more than this person said that and the other replied this... May be the future elected parliament members will do better than these incompetent caretaker parliament. Oh, God, where are we?

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      • 11 February 2009 15:35, by pills

        You are right Mr. Gatwech, SSLA MPs are in fact tribal MPs. Evryone is just protecting his tribal interest not the interest of the people of Southern Sudan at large. As it is obvious, no Equatorian MP talks about Gogrial problem, likewise, no Jonglei MP takes care of anything happening to the citizens in Maridi. Where are we heading? These MPs are the cause of most of the things happening in the South including corruption and re-armament of the civil communities.

        I’m worried by the remark made by the SPLA minister that "SPLA is trained to fight not to enforce order". We all know that Police is the law enforcing agent in true democratic civil societies, but in Africa, all arm forces contribute in this task at their different levels. This is why they are all called "organized forces". Thus, it’s the duty of the Minister to see that SPLA is playing this role particularly at the time when Police force is still ill-trained and poor-equiped.

        If I were President Kiir, I would have ordered immediate resolving of this greedy good-for-nothing monster calld SSLA, and let the South work on presidential decrees until that time when people are able to elect their representatives who are patriotic, competent, and accountable.

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  • 11 February 2009 05:42, by Jonglei Kuereng

    I appreciation the suggestion made by the SPLA defence minister to introduce the death panelty in the south. our fellow southners have become wild and they don’t value how the human life worth. The government need to be vigilant went considering death panlety. They need to study thorougthly what type of crime might carry death panelty such as manslaughter and murder. I may suggest that a death panelty sould be impose on crime such as murder and other serious criminal act or omission. However, manslaughter should carry light punishment since the offender did not intentionally or deliberately mean to kill.

    Regarding those people who residing in other state rather than their own state, it is not the governor of that particular state should come and collect his citizen. They are the one who can decided whether they go back or stay and they should be punish according to the law of that state if they don’t comply with it. Since South Sudan just emerge from the war there are a lots of chellanges that needs to be address carefull and if not they will dragge us to square 1. I wish if our people can live in good harmony and in peace look for a better way to confront challenges of post war. Thank you and May God bless south sudan.



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    • 11 February 2009 06:28, by HONEY

      thanks to the two guys above for your suggestions

      but the real problem here is that the government and civilians rely on the Army (SPLA) to implement law and order while they are not trained to do that. what we need is good numbers of trained police in every state to maintain order. And when there is war, the SPLA can then pull out their machine guns. we need police to take care of underground crimes and protect our citizens


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      • 11 February 2009 09:55, by Gatbentiu

        Security of any country is government’s concern,Mr.Nhial said that his soldiers had been trained only to fight rather then keeping country in peace and unity.
        His statement is true,but Nhial now knew the status of his soldiers,what action is he planing to take?

        The reporter in the last pragraph mentioned the killing was on December 30 2009 which is yet to come
        Please as reporter you needs to revised your report before posting it to the world.



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        • 11 February 2009 11:08, by Thomas Ader

          South Sudan need person like Nhial Deng to hold the position of SPLA affiar because he know what is really facing the people of South Sudan, As he has stated that most of South Sudan Army in general whether from SPLA OR SPLA Factions were trained to fight Arabs including officers nor the they trained to restore law and order.

          This is great news from new minister and this why many people believe that he will do the best to his people but we should not relies on one person idea, therefore we need to trained proper police to take over the security in the towns from the Army and alocate the Army for the job that they know most.

          This forum has have highlight many thing, as Hon Maker Benjiman stated that the number of polices forces are thsoe who have got injured 21 years of between South-North and turn to alcholi consumption due psychology trauma.

          For instance, we have a proper government those disable should be trained to aquired knowldege on any other sectors as most of polices forces do not know how to write and read.

          It would be good for the government to recruit the young generation who have aquired knowledge from neighbor counrty into police so that to stop implication of matters.

          Magwei MP have right to say that the non Eastern Equatoria should move to their respective states,however he should those who are employee from those groups and any one decided to live within that state he or she should report his/her concern to the authority of that areas rather than SPLA officers as long as we are southern and as you respect the dignity of local people.

          I hope and believe that Nhial will change the way of Army administration because some one who has knowledge in law like alway believe in law.


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      • 11 February 2009 10:36, by william wol

        Dear southern sudan defend minister,
        Indeed, your words are correct but look here you are talking of diarment your cilians meanwhile arab is rearming their civilians along the borderline!! Will they not harm then one day? You ought to do two things simultaneously, disarm them and prepare to the maxicumum some forces for defend in case of an attempt otherwise, you may rexpose them to vunerability again.

        Last, but not least why do you been being talking of LRRA actrocities that it had been doing in Eastern and western Equatoria states without taking an action against it? Please if you meant to defend southern sudan citizens as your title indicates then you need to plan very fast and get LRRA driven out of Equatorian as whole for one and for all. What makes it much more stronger than the enemy that which we fought to success? We want actions not talking.

        William Wol.

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        • 11 February 2009 13:04, by Mango

          Dear All,
          I believe the Minister of SPLA Affairs will do his best in transforming the former rebel soldiers into professional and conventional army. SPLA as a defence machinary of Southern Sudan has alot of challenges to address.
          The exact number of soldiers is not known up to date and no one is willing to establish it, coz it has become an eating basket for few Generals who want to loot the resources of S. Sudan like cattle raiding which is typical behaviour of Nilotic cattle herder.
          For SPLA to be transformed, Nhail should dismis of the most corrupt Gen. like Salva Matiop and some rudemental pay masters. Take all soldiers to baracks and make them cultivate.Mango

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    • 11 February 2009 22:19, by Gat Nyaluaak

      mr.Nhial should not make such a comment,he should be better to complete the orientation of armies instead of talking on the table, he better come to field and see the soldiers who used to spend five months without getting their salary and event the war veterans disabled soldiers have been left out with out proper accomodation whereby it is not their fault to be disables it is the cause of our freedom that make them look like that.they need to be supported by the Government.Nhial also have to make good performance in this post because hence,has resigned in the hard time formation of Goss .

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  • 11 February 2009 22:09, by Deng Baak Kuot

    Well, let see how;he is going to play his responsility as the SPLA’s minister fair. Now he has a lot of role to play in make sure that the laws order are safegguard, so Military personel should abide to the rules of SPLA and SPLM. he needs to ensure that solidiers salary are handed out with an accountability and transparency. in addition, there should be also timely the salaries of solidiers to avoid delay in their money. Nhial should be come up with many plans and strategies. First a location of Military’s Barrack a bit farther way from the civilians,this will create claim atmosphere. second, soldiers should not be allow to come the town with weapon, and they must abide to the military rules. Thirdly, they should be sense of creating awareness about sexually transmittion disease among military personel. Fourth, there should be transform from a guerilla mentality to professional’s soldiers and many others. I am sure if he begins basic items; then our political Party will a little shape itself from guerilla fight to professional army force that can protect a freedom of marginalising people of Sudan.

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    • 3 March 2009 18:42, by monythai

      Thank you all of you guys for your comments are really accuranted and on their places. Our minister Nhial has alot to do coz SPLA need to be convert from being garillars into real under ruls soldiers. Because I am currently dwelling in Israel who is fighting with the same Islamist as we are doing, her soldiers are always ready with their machines guns in their hands, but not happened that soldier had looted any civilian or rape or doing any dagusting kind of things in cities, town or elsewhere. They knows that they are under laws and are carring guns to confront enemy any time not to kill civialians in normal qurellings.

      So please dear minister of SPLA’s afair work hard to improve the security in the whole southern Sudan. Enemy is not known by this time of what so call CPA, coz our is using it as white cover of his crimes and work to elimanant the people of southern Sudan and GoSS.

      Nothing is good than being have a good security of people grantee, civilians would walk without fear. Run here and there in cause to strengthen security. Soldier salaries must be given first before MPs’ his in my suggestion so that soldier won’t lack anything and then would let them defend their land with the whole hearts and efforts.

      One soldier here in IDF (Israeli defend foce) had shot an Palestinian civilian when in duty and was detained by the police and investigated why he shot the person, an officer in charge of the soldier said I had to resigned immediately if the soldier is not released coz this soldier was in duty to security the situation and he was ready to defends the country in any attacks so he was released at once.

      So we need to consider in first place security and be after our strong SPLA soldier as well.

      many thanks

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