by Denis Elamu Juba
(Xinhua) -- At least two new militia
groups have been formed in South Sudan within two weeks, stoking
fears their sudden rise would worsen the conflict in the
country, analysts said Monday.
Augustino Ting Mayai,
analyst with Juba-based think tank Sudd Institute, told Xinhua
that the current proliferation of militia groups will exacerbate
violence and humanitarian suffering as the country is faced with
a man-made famine caused by fighting.
"The fact is more rebel groups amount to more violence and
"There is no coordinated strategy to resolution of the
conflict," he said.
This came after the February defections of top military
officers like Lt. General Thomas Cirilo, the former deputy head
of logistics in the South Sudanese army (SPLA) who formed the
National Salvation Front (NSF) to overthrow President Salva
And other peripheral rebel groups like the Cobra faction in
the northeast Pibor area led by Khalid Boutros and South Sudan
Democratic Forces rebels operating in Equatoria region have been
co-opted into the NSF.
Mayai added that these defections have been driven by
perception of ethnic domination by President Kiir’s Dinka tribe
at the expense of Machar’s Nuer tribe and other 62 ethnic
In May 2014, the Cobra faction agreed a peace accord with the
government and most of its fighters were integrated into the
SPLA, but again rebelled last year citing failure to implement
the peace accord.
Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Jointing Monitoring
Evaluation Commission (JMEC) that monitors the peace deal
revealed in early February that more militias driven by
opportunism and criminal objective have sprung up since the
renewed July clash in 2016.
"The whole argument of defections can be put on two things.
"Some of these people may not have been given opportunities.
"The second thing is some of them rebel to get money and
power," said Jacob Dut Chol, a lecturer of politics at Juba
"It’s kind of endless thing it might not end soon in South
Sudan because when you rebel you have to be brought back and
given a position.
"And then for somebody else who has seen you driving a big
car, sleeping in a hotel, dating the best women will decide that
actually it’s his turn to rebel," he explained.
The government earlier downplayed these developments, saying
they won’t cause regime change as they are a work of disgruntled
individuals driven by ethnic chauvinism.
But, also the rebels allied to former first vice President
Riek Machar (SPLA-IO) have been hit with defections after some
of their top military soldiers shifted allegiance to General
During the more than two decades of civil war of independence
from Sudan, the then guerilla-cum-ruling Sudan People’s
Liberation Movement (SPLM) managed to survive factionalism
leading to splinter sections and finally won South Sudanese
sovereignty from Sudan in 2011.
"This has been a lucrative business for South Sudanese
politicians and therefore it is not ending soon.
"It’s how we started our government.
"In 2006 the government started what we called the
"It was meant to bring all militias that were marauding in
South Sudan and they were all absorbed into the SPLA," Chol
Meanwhile, James Alic Garang, a lecturer of Economics at
Upper Nile University, told Xinhua that defections clearly
indicate peace is yet to hold in the country.
"In principle, these defections carry with them high
opportunity costs in terms of lost limbs, foregone earnings and
induced macro-economic instability," he said.
"Of course, the peace agreement is still alive but much has
to be done to resurrect it from collapsing.
"In other words, initiatives such as the recent call for the
national dialogue by the president are the right thing to do.
"The only downside is the manner of doing it, more must be
done to ensure that it is really inclusive, transparent and
comprehensive," Garang added.
President Kiir initiated the national dialogue last December
aimed at uniting and reconciling warring factions, but rebel
leader Riek Machar has not warmed up to the dialogue.
"Someone rebels with lower rank, adorns them in the bush and
returns with high ranks.
"As a condition for solidifying peace, they are absorbed into
the army with their new ranks and that means higher economic
"This has financially bled the country and yet enriched
individual war merchants," Garang disclosed.
The lack of punishment and accountability for returnee
militia leaders in the past has created a culture of impunity
that encourages a cycle of defections, Chol explained.
"The consequences are that you cannot have development,
peace, security and very stable country where people are working
hard. Simply because rebellion is what the government keeps an
"Any small resource that comes in goes to security sector to
make sure that people buy peace," he said.
It is actually rent-seeking behavior which is difficult,
people must change from that and think of what they can do for
their lives, he revealed.
"It is unlikely the rebels will succeed in toppling the Kiir
regime, but what will happen is that there will be disturbances
on the government of the day in terms of development," Chol
Equatorial Guinea to
support capacity building for South Sudan’s oil industry
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudan and Equatorial Guinea on Monday
signed a new pact to boost technical cooperation in the oil and
gas sector as part of efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties
between the two countries.
The pact was signed in the capital Juba by South Sudan’s
Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth and his Equatorial
Guinea counterpart Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima.
Lol Gatkuoth said the agreement would allow South Sudanese
oil workers to acquire training in the areas of geology, oil
exploration and marketing.
"What we signed involves training in geology, exploring,
marketing and other critical aspects of hydrocarbons sector.
"Equatorial Guinea will be training our technicians in the
capital, Malabo starting soon," Gatkuoth told reporters.
On his part, Obiang said his country seeks to help South
Sudan build its oil industry through knowledge and experience
"This is not the first time that Equatorial Guinea has signed
agreements with our African brothers.
"We have the experience of Ghana and Liberia in the oil
"And we have always been very clear that the experience that
we have gained will be beneficial to the continent.
"So any African country that requires what we have learned is
free to ask and we are free to deliver," Obiang said.
South Sudan relies on oil revenue to finance 98 percent of
its annual budget.
But production has been affected by civil war that broke out
in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former
deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Machar denied the
accusation but then mobilized a rebel force.
The east African nation’s oil production is currently
estimated at 130,000 barrels per day, down from over 300,000
barrels per day before the outbreak of conflict three years ago.