Salva Kiir unwilling to appoint Gen. Jok Riak as the next SPLA Chief of Defense Forces: sources

Lt. Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak (File - photo)
Lt. Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak (File – photo)

April 30th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayardiit who is also the Commander in Chief of the country’s Armed Forces Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is reportedly unwilling to appoint acting chief of Staff Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak to succeed 1st Lt. Gen. James Ajongo Mawut who passed away last week in a military hospital in the Egyptian capital Cairo, sources familiar with the issue told Nyamilepedia on the condition of anonymity.

In May 2017, president Salva Kiir Mayardiit promoted Lt. Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak to the position of SPLA Deputy Chief of Defense Forces after dismissal of the former SPLA Chief of General Staff Gen.Paul Malong Awan and replacing him with late Gen. James Ajongo Mawut. Gen. Jok Riak cames in second after Gen. Mawut but the highest in the SPLA after his death.

Speaking to the Nyamilepedia, one source said it is not in the plan of the president to appoint Gen. Jok Riak to the position of SPLA Chief of Defense forces.

“The president is not planning to appoint the current acting Chief of Defense Forces of the SPLA. He is planning a different person and the public should not expect the appointment of Gen. Jok because being an acting or deputy army chief doesn’t guarantee someone’s promotion into actual role,” the source said without mentioning who exactly the president is willing to appoint as successor to James Ajongo who died last week in Egypt.

Another source said the top SPLA General is not even in the president’s list of successors saying the president “took note” of his health situation and that’s why he suggested others than him.

“Putting into consideration and making his decision accordingly, the president declined to include Gen. Jok Riak’s name into the list of potential successors among whom a person is expected to succeed Gen. James Ajongo as the SPLA Chief of Defense Forces. The president, because of this health issue, decided to exclude him from the list of the top army generals,” he said.

Nyamilepedia was unable to independently verify this claims as many government officials, including the Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny, were unavailable for comments after several Nyamilepedia request, how every, President Kiir said last week that he will pray to God to guide him in order to appoint the right person for the army, something which suggests that Gen. Jok, who has been the acting army chief since Gen. Ajongo fall sick, will not automatically replace him as expected.

General Jok Riak fall sick lask week after reportedly experiencing a food poison. He was immediately flown to Nairobi for treatment where he remain in a Clinic until Sunday. He is expected in the national capital Juba soon according to relatives.

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