Oct 30, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — As many South Sudanese hope for a just peace after 22 months of brutal conflict, a new rebellion has emerged in Upper Nile to resist the infamous Republican order number 36 issued by Salva Kiir earlier this month.
“We, the SPLA army stationed in Manyo County, Northern Upper Nile State, South Sudan, under the overall command of Gen. Yoanes Okij, would like to inform and enlighten South Sudanese compatriots and the international community on the establishment of (Tiger Faction New Forces (TFNF)movement and the subsequent military confrontation between our two forces today 29th October, 2015.” read the declaration statement of the new rebel group.
For the last two days, a force loyal to President Salva Kiir in the heavily contested Upper Nile state broke away and declared a full scale war against Salva Kiir’s government to fight off a republican decree that ordered creation of twenty eight (28) states.
The forces, who are identified to be of ethnic Chollo (Shilluck), defected under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Yoanes Okij.
According to their declaration, amid an intense fighting in Manyo County, Gen. Yoanes has declared himself as the Commander-in-Chief of a newly formed rebel group known as The Tiger Faction New Forces [TFNF].
Since October 29th, the TFNF has been fighting a group which remained loyal to Salva Kiir in Wadekona, the capital of Manyo County.
Like other rebel groups, the new faction declares Salva Kiir unconstitutional and pledges to fight to reverse the republican decree no. 36, which was issued by Salva Kiir four weeks ago!
Coincidentally, Salva Kiir was still issuing more related republican decrees as the new rebellion break out.
“We have been observing and monitoring the current political developments in South Sudan since the signing of the Peace Agreement on 17 and 26 August, 2015 respectively, with deep and troubling concerns. The un-constitutional Presidential Order 36/ 2015 AD decreeing division of the country into twenty-eight (28) states, has compelled us to form the Tiger Faction New Forces (TFNF) to protect our land and people against the tribal regime in Juba headed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Jieng Council of Elders which have usurp powers of the National Parliament and government’s decision making organs.” part of the statement reads.
Despite the resistance, Salva Kiir ordered creation of four more states as he leaves the country to attend Indain-African Summit.
The new rebel group accuses Salva Kiir regime of derailing the recently signed peace agreement, citing many articles that are believed to have been violated by the attempt creation of the new states.
“President Salva Kiir Mayardit Government has not shown good will in implementing the signed Addis Ababa Peace Agreement. Instead, embarked on desperate attempt to derail and frustrate the implementation by issuing divisive and controversial Presidential order. The establishment Order was an outright flagrant violation of various Articles of the Constitution specially; 55 (3), 59 (a), 86 (1) 85 (2) and 86 (5), 162 (1), (2), (3) and 101 (f). The Order adversely affected the tribal territorial boundaries of people of South Sudan including, the Chollo Kingdom.” said GEN. Okij.
Like many members of Chollo Community, who have opposed the attempt division of Chollo’s kingdom into two states, the new rebellion accuses Salva Kiir and the Jieng Council of Elders of dividing the Chollo people to weaken their community politically, socially and economically.
“One of its ramifications is the division of Chollo kingdom into two parts with some in one state West of the Nile and others in the East of the Nile. The overall objective of such division is to ensure tribal domination and annexation of other tribes including Chollo territories in the eastern bank including their historical city of Malakal to the newly established Dinka’s states.”
The generals, whom some defected and fought Salva Kiir government since 2010 over land grabbing have warn that Chollo Kingdom shall never be divided.
“The Chollo Kingdom predates the concept of government in South Sudan and will not accept any power on earth to tamper with their territories and tribal existence. It is to be recalled that some Dinka communities neighboring Chollo have been making baseless historical claims on Chollo lands east of the Nile River in South Sudan since late 1970s up to the time of the issuance of establishment Order 36/2015 AD.” the group said.
“President Kiir’s desperate attempt to give Chollo land to the Dinka threatens the national security of South Sudan and will become recipe for conflict and Balkanization of the country. There is no empirical historical evidence upon Dinka’s claims of Chollo land. In fact it has been the hospitality of Chollo sovereigns that had provided protection throughout the history to Dinka neighboring the Kingdom. Chollo nation settled in their present geographical location since the 16th century.” the group warns.
In protest, the group revolved on 29th of October and captured government held territories on the West bank of the Nile tributary.
The areas now controlled by the new rebel faction, according to their latest statement, include Wadakon, Thoworgwang, Nyanowar, Maananmand Ajot and continue to push the government troops towards Shara Cola West.
The rebels are hoping that they will defeat the government troops along the West Bank of the Nile and bring the control of both sides of the Nile under rebel factions.
Despite that the new rebel group shared many objectives with the armed opposition, SPLM/SPLA, the group has declared to remain independent to fight for federalism, democracy, human dignity, equality and justice.
The defection of the new Chollo group followed defection of many Chollo generals led by Maj. Gen. Johnson Olony in April this year and similar defection of an Equatorian led group in January, 2015.
Olony defected and formed Agwelek Forces after his deputy was killed in an ambush by Dinka Padang youth, who are equipped and trained by Salva Kiir government.
The two factions have now allied to SPLM/SPLA-IO, boosting military might of Dr. Machar’s SPLA faction which has fought major battles against Ugandans mercenaries and Sudanese rebels groups.
President Kiir’s unilateral republican order has triggered similar intense fighting in his home town of Warrap leading to death of nearly one hundred people.
The decree has also angered bull-Nuer, whose portion of their land has been annexed to a new Ruweng State, which ought to comprise of Abienhom and Pariang. The two counties are separated by Rubkona County and share no common border.
Salva Kiir’s republican order no. 36 has been condemned by the regional bloc, IGAD, TROIKA states and European union and warned to reverse it; however, the regime has shown very little intent to back down.