Contributor's Nicholas Osobi Opinion



By Nicholas Osobi ,

Aug 31, 2019(Nyamilepedia) — Three years ago, this month, SPLA IO lost General Martin Kenyi Terensio in the jungle of western Equatoria in unclear circumstance. For some reasons, SPLA IO leadership has refused to declare his death even to his own family till now. Dr. Riek Machar and his wife Angelina instead resorted to cover-up stories and issuing shifting statements whenever asked. 

In 2017, whilst in Canada, Angelina Teny was asked about the disappearance of Gen. Martin Kenyi and some Equatoria leaders in Dr. Reik’s movement such as Joseph Oduho, Dr Tombe etc but her response was dodgy and somewhat divisive, indicating that Gen. Martin died because he didn’t have his own people to protect him. 

“Martin Kenyi was a son of South Sudan, he was really a revolutionary leader, but he has no soldiers from his home, and he was in the middle of the people, so I am sorry to tell you that he was a great leader, but we lost him in action”

When asked how he died, she said,

“Martin Kenyi was exhausted and tired of walking and we left him behind with one body guard, and when we came to the scene the following day, we found government soldiers boat Mark all over the place where we left him the day before. So, we presume he was killed by Government forces”

A photoshopped image showing Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo, late Lt. Gen. Martin Kenyi and Dr. Riek Machar, Chairman of SPLM/A(Photo credit: supplied)
A photoshopped image showing Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo, late Lt. Gen. Martin Kenyi and Dr. Riek Machar, Chairman of SPLM/A(Photo credit: supplied)

But when Equatorian community in Brisbane, Australia posed her the same question in 2017, she denied having knowledge of Gen. Martin’s disappearance saying SPLA IO doesn’t have any clues and that no one claimed responsibility for his death so far. She advised people to refrain from speculations as effort to ascertain his whereabouts was underway.

Her husband, Dr. Riek Machar, to the contrary claimed that Kenyi and Elias are still alive carrying out some secret assignments and that the duo would resurface at appropriate time. However, to some human right lawyer (name withheld), he said Gen, Martin died in defending him (Dr. Riek Machar).

A junior officer in IO who spoke to this reporter on the condition of anonymity is not surprised by Dr. Riek and wife’s shifting statements. He said SPLA IO doesn’t want to clear the air because they had a hand in his death and that declaring coming out clear would challenge the integrity of Dr. Riek Machar and SPLA-IO in general.

According to the junior officer Gen. SPLA IO perceived Gen. Martin Kenyi as threat due to his popularity and unique skills in guerrilla warfare and that their paranoia heightened when chances of Riek’s surviving the enemies fire was becoming typically calculus. They feared that in unlikely event of Riek’s death he (Gen.Martin) could take over the leadership or even breakaway and form his own movement.

Such perception saw Gen. Martin Kenyi being monitored closely by SPLA IO intelligence right from Juba up to the jungle. Per the informant, Dr. Riek Machar would personally call Gen. Martin on the phone every ten minutes to establish his whereabouts, falsely assuring him that a chopper was coming to pick them up. The unsuspecting Martin believed the story and did as advised.

From Juba, Gen Thomas Cirilo knew Gen. Martin Kenyi’s life was at stake and required urgent evacuation. He (Gen. Thomas) devised a plan to vacate him out of Juba immediately. The designated rescue team would pick Gen. Martin from UNMISS gate and escort him to Lobonok but Dr. Riek Machar, who was seemingly aware of this rescue mission, sent one of his generals (name withheld) and tool Martin away.

Asked if he (the informant) had sensed some danger when his boss was being picked up, to which he gave a node but said he couldn’t resist an order from above.

“I am a junior officer. In military you must obey the dictates of your superiors. Gen. Kenyi was not in good health and he needed special evacuation plan such as that devised by Gen. Thomas but IO’s deliberate decision to sabotage the plan left me worried,” the junior officer recounts.

“The arrival of Dr. Riek Machar’s general altered everything” he added.

Further report would later emerge that when Machar and Kenyi came under intense enemies’ fire, Gen. Martin who wasn’t in good health decided that he would not cross to Congo with Machar but rather remain in western Equatoria to get some treatment and later, establish a base (Pagak II) in Eastern Equatoria. His decision was believed to have worried Dr. Riek Machar, prompting him and his army chief of staff, James Koang to send some special forces after him and have him executed at Bangu in Maridi along river Bahr-nam.

SPLA-IO would not be happy about this leak but with respect and integrity it holds in the eyes of public, this reporter remains unapologetic.

Gen. Martin Kenyi’s family and the entire public deserves to know the truth regarding his mysterious disappearance. He was not a foot soldier but a full general commanding a division size unit of 10,000 to 15,000 forces. 

The story of him being left with only one bodyguard confirms both negligence and conspiracy by SPLA IO because Dr. Riek Machar himself was carried to safety by same soldiers some of whom were Equatorians. Kenyi Lo Buron who SPLA IO now wants dead, contributed thousands of forces to escort Dr. Machar to Congo. 

Gen. Martin gave his ALL to the cause of SPLA IO. Even if Dr. Riek Machar doesn’t have the courage to declare his death, he should try to support his family.

Gen. Martin was a father and true son of Equatoria. If anything, his only fault was only trusting SPLA IO without reservation, and putting his life online for its cause. 

Nicholas Osobi is a Revolutionary Columnist,  he can be reached through his email at nicholas.osobi@columnist.com

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