By Opio Jackson
Members of Red Army have called on the Chairman of Red Army Foundation (RAF) Deng Bol Aruai to organize General Assembly before his unofficial planned visit to Addis Ababa. Bol is expected to travel to Addis Ababa in the next three days, according to Santino Makol Thon the team leader of the organizing committee for General Assembly. Santino told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Tuesday 20th April 2021 in an exclusive interview that they have written several letters to their Chairman Bol asking him to convene the general assembly but all in vain. “That is why we are now informing him because he is about to travel to Addis Ababa and if he decides to go without conducting the general assembly then the Red Army will go ahead and hold its general assembly in his absence. Any decision that shall be taken will be final,” he said. He said they have not been able to conduct any developmental activities since their chairman has been working in isolation.
“If we had been conducting our national developmental activities we would have left this man to continue managing the Red Army but he is not doing anything concerning development since he was elected eight years ago,” he said. In the early 1983, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) recruited and began training boys as young as 12 to fight in its battle for independence from Sudan. The child soldiers were called the Red Army. According to a 1994 Human Rights Watch report, some of the children fought alongside the then Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). However, two years after the independence, the Red Army was resurrected as the Red Army Foundation (RAF), an organization dedicated to addressing social problems, especially among its own former members and South Sudan’s youth.
Ajak Kon Ajak Director for information of Red Army Foundation said they did not want the Red Army Foundation to be operated from the Hotels as it is operated by their Chairman Deng Bol Aruai. He said they did not know the people currently managing the Red Army Foundation and demanded the organization to be brought back to the light. “Red army is the bone of the SPLM and it is only the red army that can point at the mistakes of the SPLM. So if the red army are messing up and who will take over the leadership from the SPLM as the members are growing older,” Ajak stressed. He said initially the Red Army was formed to secure the then SPLM/A to continue with its visions. When they were originally recruited to fight, the Red Army soldiers were told they would be the “seeds of the nation.” However, Ajak said that Deng Bol Aruai has completely abandoned the vision of the red army as the organization has not been doing any developmental activities since he was elected eight years ago.
Jaafer Manoan Adam, from the former Red Army’s Zalzal (meaning Earthquake) Battalion and secretary for information of the organizing committee for general assembly said they have participated a lot during the liberation. “We have fought a lot during the liberation but now we failed to let the citizens know why we have liberated them from the hands of their enemies,” Jaafar said. “It is our time to stand behind the SPLM which we were nursed from, we are SPLM positive but comrade Deng Bol Aruai with his fellow colleagues have crowded the Red Army activities,” he said.