BREAKING: South Sudan’s General Gatdet dies in Khartoum

SSUM/A Chairman and commander in chief Gen. Peter Gatdet Yaka moving in military uniform in an unknown location in South Sudan (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

April 15th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudanese rebel commander and opposition leader, Gen. Peter Gatdet Yaka, has died this evening in the Sudanese capital Khartoum,  relatives and close aides have told the Nyamilepedia.

His former spokesman Brig. Gen. Gatkuoth Mut Turoah, confirmed to the Nyamilepedia that Gen. Gatdet died of heart attack this evening in the Sudanese capital.

“Yes it’s true,  Gen. Gatdet died of heart attack in Khartoum at 08:00PM Sudan local time,” he said.

One relative who declined not to be named conveyed the same news to the Nyamilepedia. Gen. Gatdet has not been sick for the last few months, the relative added.

Gen. Gatdet was one of the SPLA fighters who switched side several times. He was a member of the South Sudan Defence Forces (SSDF), led by Gen. Matip Nhial Nyah until he rejoined the SPLA after the Juba Declaration of 8 January 2006, but said that he was marginalized and that the army was dominated by tribal nepotism.

In April 2011 Gadet defected again and emerged as leader of the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), a new militia demanding a more broadly-based government. 

In August the same year, Gatdet’s movement declared a ceasefire with the government. Gadet integrated his forces into the army and became the 8th Division Commander.

In 2013, Gen. Gatdet mutinied against South Sudan’s army following a mass killing of Nuer civilians in Juba by a government militia and security forces.

Following the formation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), Gatdet fought under Dr. Riek Machar who then became the leader of the newly established movement.

In July 2014, the European Union imposed sanctions on Gadet accusing him of leading an attack of the town of Bentiu, in which several unarmed civilians – mostly from Darfur – were allegedly killed.

It was not clear what the Darfuri civilians were doing in the town although it has been vacated five months early by the natives following the recapture of the town by government forces from rebel forces in January 2014. 

He however defected in 2015 after rejecting a peace agreement that maintained President Kiir in power. He later on formed his own movement and named it South Sudan United Movement and Army (SSUM/A).

In September 2018, as a part of an opposition umbrella known as South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Gen. Gatdet signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa with the government of President Salva Kiir along with other opposition groups.