South Sudan: Govt Integrates Former Rebels Into Regular Army

Juba — South Sudan has integrated former rebel groups into the ranks and files of its regular army and other security organs, ending several months of behind the scene negotiations.

This move comes following an executive order by President Salva Kiir Mayardit in which he announced commissioning and appointment of several former rebel fighters into active military and civil services, mostly those who responded to general amnesty.

"They are now being integrated into our armed forces and other security organs. Some will go the civil services", president Kiir said at the opening of governor's forum Tuesday. But, he did not say how many former rebel fighters would be incorporated.

Presidential orders pardoning rebel groups have since 2012, seen significant reduction in insurgency concentrated largely in Greater Upper Nile region. Five groups in 2012 and eight others in 2013 decided to abandon rebellion and responded to the general amnesty.

In accordance to order announced by the state owned South Sudan Television and Radio on Monday, Kiir commissioned Bapiny Monytuil as lieutenant General and Johnson Uliny with four other colleagues as major Generals, all into active military service.

Colonel Philip Aguer, spokesperson of the South Sudan army (SPLA) confirmed that all the leaders of the former rebel factions have been integrated, but did not give specific details of how the processes were conducted.

"Integrations from the three groups, those who were with Bapiny Monytuil and Johnson Uliny, who accepted to lay down arms under separate amnesty, have been completed. The process of integrating soldiers into the SPLA are underway", said Aguer.

The senior military officer puts the figure of the fighters of different factions expected to integrate to the active military service at 3,000 soldiers. He did not say how many would go to the police service, pointing out that screenings were still being carried out.

Meanwhile, Gordon Buay, spokesperson of the leadership council of former South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A) said that his group expresses its "deepest appreciation and gratitude" to president Kiir, for issuing an executive order appointing the top leadership of his group to the positions of power.

"The appointments of top military and political leaders fulfilled most of our demands", Buay emphasised in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

General Thomas Cirilo Swaka, who represented the SPLA during months of behind scene negotiations, scrutinised the demands of rebel groups.

In accordance with the power-sharing and security arrangements, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the SPLA Chief-of-General-staff, James Hoth Mai, accepted commissioning and immediate integration of the senior officers, Buay said.

"South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) is given the army position of one Lieutenant General, five Major Generals, six Brigadier Generals and the remaining ranks from Colonel up to NCOs shall be arranged based upon the strength of forces of SSLA", he said.

The deal he described a power sharing, gave the political wing of his group one presidential adviser and two ambassadors.

"In Upper Nile and Unity states, the SSLM's political wing is awarded one adviser to the governor of Upper Nile and one minister and adviser to the Governor of Unity State", he added.

The aforementioned positions have been confirmed by a presidential decree on November 25 while the gubernatorial decrees already issued by the governors of Upper Nile and Unity states, said the spokesperson of the former rebel group.

Nonetheless, he did not elaborate on how will be appointed in the gubernatorial or ambassadorial positions, but unconfirmed reports say he would be appointed into ambassadorial post and posted to one of the key foreign countries.


The spokesperson of the former rebel faction said what remained now is an effort to bring on board the remaining rebel movements that are still at large and called on the rebel group of David Yau Yau to join the ongoing efforts to bring peace in the new nation.

"We seriously encourage and call upon David Yau Yau to respond to peace offered by President Kiir to bring peace and unity among the people of South Sudan", he stressed.

He called on the tribal leaders of Murle, Nuer and Dinka in Jongle state to embrace peace and unity to address the protracted violence that affected their communities.

Buay also launched un appeal to the international community to support and assist president Kiir in his endeavour to bring peace and tranquillity to the Republic of South Sudan.

Bringing peace in South Sudan by stopping political and communal violence is not a responsibility that should be left to President Kiir alone, he said.

"The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) must also play its role in assisting the president to consolidate unity and peace in South Sudan", further underlined.

South Sudan
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