Home | News    Friday 2 May 2014

High ranking army officers in Aweil area desert their posts: reports


May 1, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s army (SPLA) says it regrets the defection of senior military officers from its third division which covers the area of Warrap and Northern Bahr el Ghazal, as well as extending administrative command support to Unity state, describing the incident as “an unfortunate development”.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) soldiers at Jonglei’s Bor airport in after they re-captured the town from rebel forces in January 2014 (AFP)

A senior military commander in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity said he had received reports on Thursday that Brigadier General Gatpel, who was the commander of the headquarters, and Brigadier General Kuol Tap, the brigade commander in Majok Yiiththiou, had left the area without the knowledge of the division commander.

It is not known if the division commander, who is presently engaged in military operations in Unity state, is aware of the development.

The military source told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that the local command had been closely monitoring the activities of the alleged defected officers in recent months.

“For the last three months, we have been monitoring the movement and the conduct of some officers from [the] Nuer community,” he said.

“We have noticed that they have avoided or limited interactions with fellow officers … and instead increased contacts with soldiers and junior officers from one ethnic group, especially the Nuer. They also refused deployment to areas where the command had recommended, he added.

There have been a series of defections from the army since conflict erupted in mid-December after political tensions between president Salva Kiir and former vice-president Riek Machar turned violence.

The fighting has pitted government forces loyal to Kiir, who hails from the Dinka tribe against pro-Machar rebels, largely comprising of defected soldiers and ethnic militias from the former deputy’s Nuer tribe.

Major General Santino Deng Wol, the head of the SPLA’s fifth division did not confirm or deny the reports, although he conceded that some senior officers serving under his command had left the area, but he was still working with the local command and authorities to establish the facts.

“I received reports yesterday (Wednesday) that some officers have deserted their areas of deployment but nobody said clearly what happened, that they left or where they have gone. They (the officers) did not talk to me about any request [to leave the area], so I don’t really know what caused this,” he said.

Wol said there were reports that some of the officers may have gone to the Northern Bahr el Ghazal capital, Aweil, while others said General Tap was still in the area, although it remains unclear why he was not at the headquarters.

Wol said attempts to reach Tap by phone had so far been unsuccessful and a team of officers had bee dispatched to talk to him personally.


Sudan Tribune has been unable to independently verify the claims and military sources in the capital, Juba, said there remain conflicting reports from the area.

“There are reports of some officers said to have deserted [the] areas of their deployment without reasons and their whereabouts is not clear,” a source confirmed to Sudan Tribune.

Another officer said reports had also been received that Brigadier General Gatpel had travelled to Wunyiik, where he held a series of meetings with soldiers and officers from Nuer community.

It’s understood that other officers who objected to the meetings had received assurances from their colleagues, including Gatpel, that the meetings were not tribal related.

“These meetings were illegal and when it was discovered, they said they wanted to brief the Nuer serving in the army in the area about the current situation [and] that it is not a tribal issue and that they should not fear,” the officer told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

“They also said they were conducting these meetings in Nuer language because [the] majority of the soldiers do not understand and speak Arabic or English,” he added.

There have been no official statements from the SPLA spokesperson or state authorities, although several legislators and serving cabinet ministers have claimed the officers defected.

“The desertion of these officers from areas of deployment without permission or knowledge of the division commander explains the whole thing, which we should not struggle to explain. It is a clear defection,” a local legislator said during an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

Military observers say local populations in Northern Bahr el Ghazal had started cultivating due to the early arrival of the rainy season and the security situation in the region remains relatively stable.


The defections, if verified, would be another setback to government forces fighting to contain a spiralling rebellion in the country, with some observers and independent analysts predicting it is only a matter of time before the Kiir administration falls.

“Looking at the current political and security situation and the way it is handled, you certainly find that it is a matter of time before this administration under president Salva Kiir could fall,” a Juba-based analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

“The current administration is stacked with hardliners – people who have war attitudes and believe in fighting as the only viable means to resolve differences, which is unachievable. Political differences are never resolved through the use of military means, but through peaceful dialogue,” he added.

Peace talks resumed this in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, amid growing international disquiet over the slow progress of negotiations and ongoing atrocities committed by both sides.

A January ceasefire deal signed by the warring parties following an earlier round of talks has failed to halt the violence on the ground.


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  • 2 May 2014 06:44, by mathem jech amer

    It is good that all Nuers defect because Juba administration has been soft in this, no good military tactics and no good handling of the problem. Warrap Youth say they will not kill any defected Nuer soldier because it is a governemnt issue.

    repondre message

    • 2 May 2014 07:24, by Bentiu son

      Congratulation bravos Brigadier General Kuol Tap Gai and Brigadier Gen Gatpel for joint your comrades from SPLA in Opposition.Yes,Salva Kiir’s brutal regime need to be deserting because it is terrorist regime killings his own citizens,imported hired mercenaries to defense South Sudan Constitution,territory,and national sovereignty instead of SPLA.Kiir’s admin had made South Sudan failed State.

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      • 2 May 2014 07:35, by Bentiu son

        corrupt,anarchy and lawless nation on the eyes of globe.Salva Kiir and his husband M7 of Uganda had failed us badly,they both killed our hero Dr Mabior,Lt Gen George Athor Deng Dut, Gen Gatluak Gai Kuach,used deadly cluster bombs in Juba-Bor road,Mangala,Pariak,Bentiu,Bor town,Gadiang and Malakal and massacred about 17,613 Nuer civilians in Juba,220 in UNMISS Bor,300 in Gerger Town,n 192 Mapel Tra

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        • 2 May 2014 08:17, by Majongdit

          Bentiu son,
          Don’t forget to mention the Beshir-Riek affair. They have been flirting and maybe are arranging wedding. You are invited with your Janjaweed colleagues, Eritrea friends

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        • 2 May 2014 09:32, by Kalo

          Son of Bentiu,all those generals including Riek were militants before didn’t take part in struggle of S.S,except James Kaong/CDR,he was only fore to join the rebel,you can fight but at the end you will end up in Khartoum with jalaby like b4 and the Nuer community are the losers,their numbers will reduced,i know you are great fighters but you will not win the war because of tribalism.

          repondre message

        • 2 May 2014 09:44, by Kalo

          It seem Many brigadiers Gen in S.S are from Nuer,i was soldier in S.S in 1990s b4 Independence with some Nuer officers like James Hoth ,James Koang/CDR,Johnson Guony/James Uchan, in my view i conclude:-in order to stop the rebellion in S.S is to mixed all the soldiers in S.S,not Nuer and Dinka to dominated the Ranks,that is only solution,otherwise killing will not stop.

          repondre message

          • 2 May 2014 13:04, by Mi diit

            Well, next time don’t just defect. Cause a maximum damage to those murderers. That is the language they understand best and they will respect you.

            repondre message

      • 2 May 2014 09:18, by Tibs

        With some observers and independent analysts predicting it is only a matter of time before the Kiir administration falls.
        what a death dream!!!!!!!!!
        Juba Fake Analysts
        Dr. Holocaust mobilized all his #Nuer tribes and they were crashed. Millions are coming from Bhar El Ghazal to clear out these Savages soon....

        repondre message

      • 2 May 2014 15:31, by barbayo

        Bentiue son
        sorry all generals you are talking about where all caught includes Kuol and Gatpal now they where brought to Munyik

        repondre message

  • 2 May 2014 06:54, by Mr Point

    Kiir’s fake coup failed.
    Kiir’s attempt to assassinate Machar failed.
    Kiir’s plan to silence Pagan Amum failed.
    Now there are signs that Kiir’s regime is starting to fail and politicians like Anne Itto are looking forward to a future without Kiir because the man himself has failed.

    repondre message

    • 2 May 2014 07:30, by Toney Toney Matot

      Dog Mr Point,
      Nuer Generals defection has no setback to the government since it is their habits to defect always. those analyst are dead wrong to say that the government of Kiir may fall due to army defections. bear in mind that when Dinka Responded to your tribal war, you will regret it.do not always preach tribal war ya jina aram.

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      • 2 May 2014 08:29, by Mr Point

        This civil war will never achieve a military solution. Riek won’t win the war. Kiir won’t win the war.
        Tribal revenge killings won’t bring a resolution.
        If there is no political solution then South Sudan will become a failed fragmented state like Somalia.
        Neither Riek nor Kiir can lead the unity government that is needed to reunite the country.

        repondre message

        • 2 May 2014 15:24, by barbayo

          break news
          All generals who were defected from NBGS where caugh all them and brought Munyiik recently five menuit go,

          repondre message

  • 2 May 2014 06:54, by hellonearth

    Kiir and Likes

    your government will fall soon

    repondre message

    • 2 May 2014 07:13, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

      It is my strategy for all Nuer to go including whoever still dragging their feet in the government, all of you here have no ideas how I’m doing with everything, I’m almost done, Nuer will never be the same, that is why you heard UN, US crying about panding war, just wait,

      repondre message

  • 2 May 2014 08:07, by Majongdit

    There was no such analyst and such gloomy analysis that Juba Admin would fall. As usual, it is the making of Sudan Tribune. Nuer are also confusing us. The war will better be fought if all becomes clear between an enemy or a friend. The incidences of Malakal and Bentiu have taught us a lesson. Anyone who wants to defect must be allowed to go. The rebels must accept peace or face it.

    repondre message

    • 2 May 2014 08:55, by Bentiu son

      Majongdit,idiot,the feudal tribal war your godfather Salva Kiir and his husband Museveni created through their fake Failed Coup Attempt rather than Failed Assassination Attempt against Dr Machar and his colleagues from SPLM will forsure be ugly this rainy season.It is good news that Nuer boys and girls within Gelweng militias of Dinka Army are defecting daily.Soon cowards Jangee will be defeated!

      repondre message

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