July 6, 2021 — A senior military general, Major General Stephen Buay Rolnyang, who was recently demoted to private by president Salva Kiir but later reinstated by the ex-Chief of General Staff of the army, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, wants to clear the air on the narrative that he and Gen. Paul Malong Awan killed tens of thousands of Nuer civilians in the recent conflict both in the capital Juba and Northern Upper Nile.
Although Major Gen. Stephen Buay is not denying that Nuer civilians were killed, he believes that him and Malong did not take roles in the killing of Nuer civilians as alleged.
As one of the Nuer generals who remained on the government ‘s side, Gen. Buay said they protected the Nuer civilians from being killed by “non-civilized Dinka as they did in Juba and other areas by killing the Nuer”, and as such they should be given credit instead of being implicated.
“we the Nuer generals and politicians who remained on the government side played a great role in 2013, crisis, by protecting some of Nuer civilians who were left behind in the government controlled areas, who would be targeted by non – civilised Dinka as they did in Juba and other areas by killing the Nuer.” Buay said.
” so, I think we deserve a great appreciation for that if you don’t know” He added.
According to earlier reports, the “non-civilized Dinka” he refers to were recruited by Gen. Paul Malong Awan and other Dinka generals under the auspice of the office of the president without the knowledge of the then Chief of Staff, Gen. James Gathoth Mai, who was eventually replaced by Malong.
Gen. Buay admits that armed Nuer men might have killed themselves under his watch in Northern Upper Nile but he believes that only happened in self-defense when his forces returned fire.
“I did not kill any innocent Nuer person, except those who got killed at the front line in our self- defense by the forces under my command who were also mainly from the Nuer sons and daughters, as the Nuer soldiers made up 60% of the forces of 1st infantry Division deployed in Upper Nile region.” Gen. Buay said.
Speaking on behalf of Gen. Paul Malong Awan, Buay does not believe that Malong might have killed Nuer civilians saying he was not the Chief of Staff by then and when he became the Chief of Staff, he reinstated some Nuer soldiers who had fled to the IDPs camps.
“I don’t think Paul Malong killed the Nuer because they are Nuer by tribe. He was still not appointed chief of General staff when war erupted in Juba. The chief of general staff was our son General James Hoth Mai who could also witness that Malong did not kill the Nuer, but, instead when he was appointed chief of General staff, Malong rescued some of the Nuer” Buay said.
Two months ago Gen. Stephen Buay defected from South Sudan People’s Defense Forces and switched his military allegiance to Sudan Sudan United Front/Army under the former Chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan who went ahead to reinstate him into his previous position and promoted him.
The question of who then killed the civilians remains to be answered; however, the government and the Jieng Council of Elders have bitterly protested the establishment of an hybrid court that would try the generals and politicians who led the war on both sides.
Gen. Buay pledges to continue fighting but he assures that his forces will not fight to kill all the enemy but to destroy them.
“Our objective is not to kill the enemy all, Our objective is to destroy the enemy” he said.