Ethnic militia group allowed Kiir to destabilize peace efforts – report

Members of South Sudan’s Mathiang Anyor militia group (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

October 10th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – A militarized ethnic militia group allowed President Salva Kiir to work to destabilize peace efforts in South Sudan, a report released this week by the Small Arms Survey said.

The report said maintaining Mathiang Anyoor which is made up of recruits from the country’s Northern Barh el Ghazal and Warapp states was not accepted by senior officials from the country’s ministry of defense.

This, according to the report, led to differences in the country’s leadership at some points threatened the government with splits.

It said Malong and some hardliners in the Dinka-led government were standing for the integration of the group into the defunct SPLA.

The report said Kiir could not have destablized peace efforts by attacking rebe-held areas if it was not because of the presence of Mathiang Anyoor.

“It is questionable whether Kiir could have moved against Machar’s opposition so decisively were it not for this reserve force and, more broadly, a political and military power base from Bahr el Ghazal willing to mobilise to protect its insecure grip on power.

“The Mathiang Anyoor phenomenon is rooted in the flip sides of this insecure power: fear and entitlement, manifested in extreme violence.

“Indeed, the Mathiang Anyoor salvaged Kiir’s regime at a period of great vulnerability, but at great cost to South Sudan’s own fledgling nationhood.

“The Mathiang Anyoor made viable, if only briefly and crudely, a coercive South Sudanese state forged through Dinka manpower, but in the process, they exacerbated South Sudan’s own internal divisions.

“Kiir’s wider coalition continues to expand and contract, but his power is maintained at its core by a group of loyalists confined within shrinking concentric circles of Dinka factions, clans, and kin.

“With the rise of Akol Koor’s NSS and the decline in Machar’s own capacity to wage high-intensity warfare, Kiir no longer leans as heavily on the Malong style of blunt force to maintain power.

“Few regimes have the time and political space, as Juba has, to tinker with maintaining and protecting a core state stripped down to its bare minimum. It is adept at survival and self-perpetuation—at least in the absence of a concerted coercive external force or regime split.”

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