South Sudan: Why Army Defected, from a Major’s Perspective!


Why did I defect to Riek Machar?

Written by Maj. Tethloach D. Ruey,

Juba_Bentiu_mgScreen Shot 2014-01-11 at 12.21.15 AMTwo mass graves found Juba(left) and one found in Unity State, Bentiu(right). Photo: UN rights

January 10, 2014 [South Sudan] –– The world is aware of the current crisis in South Sudan. Salva Kiir called it a failed military coup or a rebellion. No matter what he calls it, what had happened was a massacre of Nuer civilians in their thousands in Juba. If it was a military coup, were civilians part of the coup?

This piece of article briefly explains, as a military officer in the South Sudan’s army, why I defected to Riek Machar. The article informs of the depth and magnitude of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed that led to my defection like others military officers.

The brain of any government is the ruling Party and its leadership. Body is nothing if brain decayed. Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), the ruling Party, was crippled by Salva Kiir and his cheap loyalists who benefit from the weakness of the Party. Reformists led by Dr. Riek tried to reform the Party but Salva did not give them a chance till he attempted to disarm the Republican Guards of the Nuer tribe. This is a blind-man decision.

Nuers, the majority in the South Sudan’s military, are loyal to the Party reformists. Indisputably, they also have superior combat skills than Dinkas. This made them a target of disarmament. Disarming them would be a great success to Salva and his crime partners. But Kiir underestimated the hardness of the task he preferred. How could you attempt to disarm a force superior than yours? Is it a belief in Ugandan military? This is a drunk-man calculation. Kiir didn’t realize that Dinkas are skillful fighters than Ugandans. Kiir shouldn’t felt powerful of the Ugandan massive war machines. What matters at war is not just the sophistication of the gun but also the combat skills of the fighter itself. I think Kiir’s choice is now crystal clear to himself and his defunct advisors as the book of his folly unfolds to the whole world.

When Nuers refused disarmament, Kiir loyalists from the Dinka tribe began killing Nuers of the Republican Guards and Nuers responded aggressively. Dinkas of the Republican Guards were defeated in the barrack at that night of 15 December 2013. This was about 23:00 Hours military time. At about 01:00 Hours military time, the war spread to Bilpam (military GHQs) Front. No side was defeated on this front. All maintain their positions. Both fronts resumed heavy fighting in the morning of December 16. Nuers from both fronts ran out of ammunitions and reinforcement. They retreated to the outskirts of the city. This is the outbreak of the war. However, this is not a big concern because it was a clash of Men-in-Uniforms.

The massacre of Nuer civilians occurred when Dinkas assessed their casualties and found that they suffered many casualties. Even Nuers could not believe the casualties Dinkas suffered because Dinkas were the ones having tanks and heavy artilleries. Then Dinkas began the campaign of massacring the Nuer civilians openly.

Nuer civilians perceived that it was a war of Men-in-Uniforms. They did not bother running away from the government soldiers of the Dinka tribe. They thought it was war of a civilized people. This was a big mistake! After Nuers soldiers retreated to the bush, government soldiers of the Dinka tribe commenced opening houses one by one killing and raping Nuer civilians in including children. In one house more than 200 Nuer civilians were found executives. Even Ethiopians, who are non-combatants, suffered tragically. One Ethiopian lady was raped and found dead with a big piece of wood inserted into her reproductive organ. Some of the horrible crimes committed include raping to death pregnant women, forcing people to eat dead human bodies, slitting throats of children and execution of the wounded civilians in hospitals. I am an eye witness of these crimes, crimes of people who profess to be born-rulers.

As a human being endowed with reason, and as a member of the humiliated family, I have a good reason to defect. I defected to defend myself, counter the massacre of civilians and to completely destroy Kiir government. How would you feel if your wife, brother, sister, child or mother suffered like this? Wouldn’t your patience and forgiveness melted away? I have nothing to do but to liberate myself the hard way as I am forced to do so. It is also painful loosing my military colleagues of the Dinka tribe whom I wish to live with in peace. We don’t deserve what politics had caused us. Its an unfortunate history!

Though some Nuers still eat on the same table with the war criminals, no Nuer in his right mind could defile his conscience in such a difficult moment in the history of Nuer. They thought they will benefit in this confusion. They are double-minded losers who are unstable in their minds. They have no value even to themselves let alone to Salva Kiir. What does it means to receive a billion dollar bribe if my family is exterminated? What does it means to be a governor if my family is exterminated? What does it means to be a General in the military if the blood my people, the ones I am expected to protect, is flowing into the rivers? What does it means to be a Minister or a Member of Parliament in the government that is slitting throats of children? Nuers have to fight this war seriously as a matter of survival. This war is not about Riek Machar or power struggle. It is a restoration of human dignity and removal of the second-class citizenship imposed on Nuers by the enemies of peace. For those Nuers who betrayed their family, history will mercilessly judge them! Salva Kiir and Yuweri Museveni- South Sudan’s ruler by proxy, must face the Nuer wrath to the fullest! In the end, Salva Kiir and Maj. Gen. Marial Chanuong, among others, will dearly pay the price!

Maj. Gen. Marial, the Commander of the Republican Guards, is a blood-thirsty coward from the Dinka tribe. He was the one who commanded the slaughter of civilians in Juba. Salva gave him full authority to execute all opponents. In the event when God shall give victory to the oppressed, this man shall not return to dust in peace.

However, one has to be kind to Maj. Gen. Akol Koor Kuc, the Director General for Internal Security. Even though he is from the executing group, this man saved many Nuer lives. He worked to prevent the falling apart of the country. In the event of victory, show kindness to him and his family no matter what you think.
“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48).

Victory to the Oppressed Masses!!!

Maj. Tethloach D. Ruey
Former Head of Officers Record Department
Directorate for Officers Affairs

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