June 28, 2021 — As South Sudan heads to its tenth anniversary, a senior military general, Stephen Buay Rolnyang, who recently joined a rebel faction led by the country’s former Chief of Staff of the SPLA, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, fears that the country has no official army and may not have an official army even if the unified force were graduated and deployed.
According to Gen. Buay Rolnyang, the dissolution of the SPLA officially marked the end of what would have become the national army and created a void that may never be filled.
“Since the dissolution of the historical revolutionary army, the (SPLA), and replaced with the SSPDF, South Sudan is like without a legal and an official national army, because what is there is a militia like -Army representing different political factions in the country” Gen. Buay Rolnyang said.
Although the peace agreement recommended that a unified force be trained to form the national army, Gen. Buay believes that what would be graduated will not reflect a true national army with credible military structures.
“The current unified forces under various training centers in the country in the name of the peace agreement will not and never make a truly national army in the Republic of South Sudan because they do not follow the usual military organization structure which basically starts with a Squad, Platoon, Company, Battalion, Brigade and Division plus other specialized units.” Buay said.
He argues that what is being trained will be graduated as military officers or generals without foot soldiers to command.
“Most of the unified forces if not all are officers and NCOS. There are no common soldiers. For instance, a squad normally has only two NCOS, a corporal and Lance corporal plus 9 men or more depends on the military organization of a country.” He said.
“A platoon is commanded by one officer with the rank of 2nd lieutenant (2nd Lt) deputized by a Sergeant (Sgt).” He added.
“A company is commanded by a Major deputized by a captain and Sergeant Major (S/M) of the company” He continued.
According to Gen. Buay Rolnyang, a battalion is commanded by a Colonel assisted by Battalion HQ staff officers and Battalion regimental Sergeant Major (R/SM); a Brigade is commanded by a Brigadier general assisted by Brigade HQ staff officers who are mainly Colonels and the most senior one of them becomes deputy brigade commander; and a division is commanded by a Major General assisted by Division HQ general staff officers who are mainly brigadiers and the most senior one is deputy to the division commander.
“The above military organization structure is not followed in the organization of the unified forces. All the unified forces are retaining their respective factional ranking system which will not representing the formation of a national army.” Buay said.
“Secondly, the parties have not yet agreed on the creating of the new name of the would-be the national army.” He added.
Buay further argued that the training of the unified forces was not professional saying that they were poorly trained and basically given foot drill training which cannot qualify them to be professional and national army capable of defending the country.
“They are about to be graduated ill-equipped and will not be able to discharge their duties diligently, some of them are equipped with hunting guns.”He added.
The former senior SPLA General believes that the training of the unified forces was raw and incomplete and will not prepare them to be national soldiers.
“they will still be loyal to their factional leadership in their hearts and therefore, the crisis of South Sudan is far from over.” He reiterated.
Gen. Buay headed many operations on the government side in the recent war until he felt out with some politicians and military generals leading to his arrest and later demotion.