By Puok Nyang Tutjiek,
edited by the investigators.
June 08, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Following heavy rains in Greater Upper last week, members of loyal forces have abandoned their position in Nasir. The defectors have joined the ranks of freedom fighters, under the democratic federal system of Dr. Riek Machar, at Mandeng.
The defected soldiers told SPLA and community of Nasir, residing in Mandeng, that the SPLA forces in Nasir are reconsidering their decision to stay or evacuate the town. More soldiers are expected to either surrender or abandon their positions in Nasir as they foresee difficulty in sustaining the historic town as heavy rains loom.
The foreseen challenge during the rainy season would not only be to safe lives of the combatants but also to protect their heavy artillery, which were deployed earlier to capture the town from the armed opposition.
The defected loyalists at Mandeng reiterate that the soldiers are in a hot debate, not over federalism as in Juba but their own fates in relations to the interest of Salva Kiir that they are protecting. Many soldiers have now realized that Salva Kiir is not interested in peace or political solution.
The soldiers have also raised concerns regarding the widows and orphans of the deceases who are now abandoned by the government. The soldiers are also raising favoritism given to the Ugandan soldiers, who are paid more than the SPLA loyalists that fight the actual war in various parts of the country. The debate also noticed the disables and wounded soldiers are abandoned by the government without proper care or payments.
The defectors have raised discrimination in payment and deployment by their colleagues from Bahr el Ghazal, who claim superiority over their colleagues from Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria Region. This debate is spreading like a virus and more soldiers are expected to leave the battlefields in the next few weeks or months. It is not yet clear but some soldiers may join the freedom fighters while others may return to their home areas because they are not interested in fighting for a regime that is collapsing.
Some soldiers from Bahr el Ghazal’s Aweil counties are considering their fates under Gen. Malong Awan after the commander of division 6, Gen. Dau Aturjong, defected to Dr. Machar’s leadership. Some are waiting to pull out anytime instead of waiting to be attacked at the dead end of Nasir.
The soldiers have also noticed that many exit routes from Nasir to either Ulang county or Malakal are blocked by the freedom fighters and for that surrendering at Mandeng was the best decision. The remaining forces in Nasir hope that Salva Kiir may sign a favorable deal with Riek Machar on June 9 in Addis Ababa. If this does not happen, the non-dinka soldiers may all defect to opposition before their position is attacked by the rebels.
The soldiers have also noticed that the road from Nasir to Malakal are impassable due to flooding, caused by the heavy rains. The soldiers added that the number of government soldiers at Nasir has greatly reduced after the Nuer collaborators, who helped to capture the town, have abandoned the town. The fates of these loyal soldiers is at stake, and doomed to freedom fighters. Their fates is at a great risk, considering the strategic location of Nasir.
The fateful debate mostly showcase the doom future awaiting the regime, and although it is kept under the table, the dilemma, delusion and hallucination linked to evacuating the area are no longer secretes. More soldiers are abandoning their strategic positions, not only in Nasir, but also in Ayod, Gadiang, Poktap, Mathiang, among other minor towns. Staying in some of these areas amount to waiting the worst if not death. Towns like Ayod and Nasir are sunk in the opposition controlled areas and safe exit is close to none. Waiting in these areas amount to surrendering in the near future, unless Salva Kiir submit to sign the peace agreement with Dr. Machar without being forced to do so.
The report has also noticed that Salva Kiir and Malong Awan share their intelligences and secretes with the Dinka soldiers, leaving the non-dinka soldiers with no clue of their safety and the safety of their families in Juba. Many are worried, with little hopes that Salva Kiir will betray them to continue fighting in defence of his infamous regime. Many loyal SPLA soldiers believe now that they are only being spared by Dr. Riek Machar’s freedom fighters for the sake of peace in Addis Ababa.
As seen during the 5 months of intense battle, loyal forces could not hold towns like Bentiu for more than 24 hours despite having tanks and other artillery that are now rendered useless by the rains. If attacked today in Nasir, Bor or Juba, the inferior loyal forces will abandon their heavy artillery and flee to save their lives.
To make it worse, the commander of division 6, Gen. Dau Aturjong, from Bahr el Ghazal, accompanied by MPs, has defected to SPLM in opposition. Many diplomats and intellectuals with huge community support like MP, Dr. Richard Mulla and Deputy UN ambassador Dr. Francis Nazario have also joined the opposition. Even worst, the three governors of Greater Equatoria are also at a loggerhead with the dictatorial regime in Juba. All these factors scare the soldiers, who were coerced to defense Salva Kiir’s powers.
The soldiers have learned the regime may not last another 5 months in power if Machar or Kiir refuse to sign the peace agreement in Addis Ababa. For many soldiers, switching sides before it is too late does not seems like an option but a must. Only the benefactors from Bahr el Ghazal region may lug on to fight the wars. Soldiers from the Greater Equatoria and Upper Nile do not see a need to continue fighting a losing war.
The defectors have also revealed that Salva Kiir and his all-dinka advisers were quoted to have held secret meeting in Juba to declare their objection for a political solution to the conflict. They have decided to put the peace deal in dustbin in Juba, hoping that the vulnerable soldiers may continue to sustain the regime until the next dry season rescue them.
The secret meeting was eavesdropped by the Ugandan intelligence, who are also worried of their soldiers in the country. The Ugandan leadership have decided to play the same trick of keeping secrets from the soldiers at the front line. The UPDF in Bor and Juba is being told to wait a safe withdrawal, which may not happen. In the worst case, the Ugandan forces in Bor may abandon their position or risked being attacked by the freedom fighters.
On the other hands, the freedom fighters under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar are well aware of these developments. They are taking these opportunity to train, keep order and remain vigilant. The opposition is gaining and strengthening in all fronts each day. The recent Nairobi visit has presented many dissidents a chance to join the opposition and denounce Salva Kiir’s leadership.
The freedom fighters welcomed the wise decision made by defectors in Nasir to surrender to their end. “We viewed it as well decision and the freedom fighters already assured these few SPLA fighters in Nasir that the freedom fighters are indeed for democratic federal system of South Sudan and they cannot hurt whoever wish to join freedom fighters, just putdown your armed and surrender to the freedom fighters.” Read part of the report.
The government soldiers, malnourished in Nasir, believe that the difficulty they face in Nasir is incomparable to the situation faced by counterparts in Gatdiang. Yet, the battalion in Gadiang surprisingly abandoned their defensive position, despite their advantage of being close to Bor. Although Majority are returning to Bor headquarters, some have defected to the rebels.
Some brave defectors have reiterated that they did not join the freedom fighters because of fear of being arrested or killed but because they have now learned a lots from the new developments. They believe that the SPLA under Dr. Riek Machar Teny are fighting for the common good of the people of South Sudan, which is seen by the influx of well educated elites, joining ranks with Dr. Machar to reform the country.
This debate is shaping many soldiers to take responsibilities into their own hands. Some soldiers, whom some have surrendered to the freedom fighters as other remain loyal to Salva Kiir, are pledging to keep the debate alive to expose the truth to their colleagues and convince them to choose the right path before it is too late.
The defected soldiers have also confessed to contribute in dislodging the Kokora government led by tyrants and terrorists, who are murdering not only their opponents but their own supporters and loyal soldiers. With more than 20,000 civilians killed in Juba and over 17, 000 civilians killed in Malakal, Bentiu and Bor, the defected soldiers have concluded that for peace to return to South Sudan, Salva Kiir must be forced to sign an inclusive peace agreement that embodies federalism or else he will face defeat before December.
Viva Dr. Riek Machar Teny,
Viva Lt. Gen Alfred Lado Gore,
Viva Freedom Fighter all over the world.
Long Life South Sudan
Puok Nyang Tutjiek is a concern South Sudanee. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.