Unified South Sudan army key step to peace - Video

Sunday April 17 2022

South Sudan President Salva Kiir has agreed to accommodate the armed opposition forces into the national armed forces, a move that may bring peace to the country.

On April 13, President Kiir demoted a number of army, police and wildlife service commanders to accommodate Riek Machar’s Sudan People's Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) and the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA).

The September 2018 South Sudan peace agreement got a major boost when the stakeholders agreed to unite the armed forces under one command.

Salva Kiir and Riek Machar.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (centre) and First Vice President Riek Machar (right). President Kiir agreed to unite the armed forces under one command. PHOTO | AFP

The decree gives SPLM in Government (SPLM-IG) 60 percent of the armed forces positions, SPLM-IO 27 percent and SSOA 13 percent.

The president appointed South Sudan Defence Forces Gen Gabriel Duab Lam, Kuong Gatkuoth Gatkoth, Ashaba Akande and Webby Samson Garang Ayi Ayi Akol, and transferred directors of Intelligence, Prison Service, Civil Deference Service and the National Wildlife Service.


John Jon Jok Gai and Obuony Aduok were appointed to lead the prison services.

Opposition commanders Stephen Pal Kuk and Mark Jek were appointed to the Civil Deference Service. Deputy director of police James Yen was relieved of his position and transferred to the national police service.

Martin Ring Malek and William Ado of the National Wildlife Service and Paul Tachc and Chak Aggrey Wani were transferred to the headquarters

Need for funding

John Dukue, the South Sudan ambassador to China, said the unification of forces needed millions of dollars from peace partners like the European Union, the US, the UK and Norway.

Tut Gatluak, the presidential adviser on security affairs, asked high-ranking military officers to focus on how the forces will be graduated and redeployed to various sectors such as the police, military, prison, national security, the fire brigade, as well as the training of the forces.

President Kiir said the country has been experiencing insecurity because of the way the security organs have been politicised.

“Some of the leaders go into the communities and begin to talk about representation in the army, in police, insecurity and all these other organs in the state institutions. It is not like that anywhere in the world,” he said.

Rejected president’s directive

Mr Machar had earlier rejected the president’s directive on the formation of a unified military command structure, saying there had been no consultation. He termed President Kiir’s decree as “unilateral and which undermines negotiations effort being facilitated by the guarantors”.

There were concerns that the unification of forces would not happen after President Kiir on March 28 directed the NSS to release classified information about the outbreak of violence in 2013 and 2016.

The dossier says that Mr Machar started the conflict by mobilising thousands of soldiers in Unity State before his dismissal from office as vice president in July 2013.