South Sudanese president urges army to unite against tribalism

Hentet fra Sudan Tribune (ingen journalist kreditert)

President Kiir made the remarks at the opening function of the 6th command council of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in Bilpam, the army general headquarters situated north of the South Sudanese capital, Juba.

Kiir was speaking at the function in his capacity as the commander in chief of the army at the military function under the theme: «Our Loyalty and Service to the Nation not Tribes or Parties».

The president underlined the importance of restructuring and transforming the army.

“When we fought during the liberation struggle, we were all comrades. We did not fight as tribes. That was why a commanding officer could go to any place to lead SPLA forces. That was why we succeeded. The spirit of comradeship and brotherhood guided us. Where did this spirit go after we became a country and established our institutions, including this army, SPLA”, Kiir told the state-owned SSBC.

According to the president, tribalism was the cause of divisions in the army.

“I know it is not something easy to restructure and transform the army but it is the work we must not defer. The transformation we have been talking about must start from the top and this conference must concentrate on how to transform the SPLA”, he added.

The former rebel commander turned politician and became the president of the young nation stressed on the discipline in the Army, saying it is a very important element of professional army.

“Training is one of the areas in which we have to work together to transform this institution. When a soldier is trained it becomes an opportunity to know what he did not know and it comes through training”, he explained.

The SPLA, he said, was more disciplined during the war of liberation struggle than when it became a national army.

The command council is an annual military function attended by all top military leadership, including general commanding officers spread across the country in their division headquarters and heads of the specialized units at the general headquarters.

It is a military forum through action plans; strategies and implementation of the policies concerning the army are designed, developed and reviewed.

The latest function was attended by several government officials. Notable of whom was the vice president, James Wani, defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, speaker of parliament Anthony Lino Makana, minister of finance Stephen Dhieu Dau and security adviser Tut Kew Gatluak and minister at the presidency, Mayiik Ayii Deng, among others.

The SPLA was founded as a guerrilla movement in 1983 and was a key participant of the second Sudanese civil war. However, as of 2013, the SPLA was estimated to have 210,000 soldiers, as well as an unknown number of personnel in the small South Sudan Air Force.