Juba, South Sudan,
June 13, 2021 – The National Salvation Front Commander-in-Chief Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka has paid tribute to Sultan Enosa Laki Yoana who died in Uganda this week, describing him as a ‘passionate revolutionary’.
“On behalf of the Leadership and all members of National Salvation Front, I extent heartfelt condolences to the family, relatives, friends of Sultan Laki Yoana, the people of Lainya County in particular and South Sudan in general for the loss of this great elder, father, and a passionate revolutionist,” Cirillo said in a statement obtained by Nyamilepedia.
He said in the 1960s, late Mr. Laki started his career of chieftainship in Kapoeta, where he was identified as a leader in solving community problems among the people. On his return to Lainya, he was appointed Headman and subsequently made a Chief in the 1980s.
When the SPLM/SPLA started its campaign in Central Equatoria State during the liberation struggle, Laki became one the pioneers of chieftainship who received the SPLA soldiers, hosted them, and set the ground for the mobilization of support, Cirillo said.
Laki, according to the NAS leader, also underwent military training in Morta training center in the company of other Chiefs where he graduated as a Captain in 1987.
The statement says in 1992 when the Sudanese army launched a campaign to take control of all areas in CES, Laki with few others including Gen. John Kenyi Loburong, resisted the enemy and provided hope to the people till the time of Operation Thunder Bolt (OTB), an SPLA Military Campaign, which led to the recapture of almost all towns and government garrisons in CES up to Bahar Ghazal region.
“ln this historical campaign, Sultan Laki played a great role in mobilizing recruits and food for the soldiers. It is on this background that when Lainya Payam was promoted as County in 2004, Sultan Laki, based on his dedication and experience, became the Paramount Chief of Lainya County.
“Sultan Laki served the people of Lainya, Central Equatoria State, and indeed South Sudan with utmost distinction; he was known for his wisdom and courage. He loved his people and hated all forms of injustices,” he added.
Laki fled to camp when a deadly round of armed conflict swept South Sudan in 2016 devastating Lainya. NAS says his escape to the camp was part of the struggle for freedom.
“When the government of Salva Kiir started killing, raping, looting and displacing the people from their ancestral land and destroying the country, Sultan Laki could not withstand that and he opposed the government, as such he decided to join the struggle for freedom and dignified life; followed his people into refugee [camp] and died among them as a symbol of defiance against oppression and injustice,” Cirillo said.
“To NAS, Sultan Laki is a hero, a martyr who sacrificed his entire life for the people and the Republic of South Sudan. The Leadership of NAS and its members salute and honor this dignified elder and father and promises that we shall continue the struggle to hoist the flag of freedom, justice, and prosperity in South Sudan,” he added.
“Although South Sudan lost such a great personality, we pray that his legacy, courage, and determination continue to live on and be remembered by generations to come,” Cirillo further said.
Cirillo is one of the leaders of the holdout groups to the Revitalized Peace Agreement. However, the group is part of the Rome Peace Talks on the ticket of the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance.