By Philip Buda Ladu
President Salva Kiir Mayardit has directed the recently appointed military officers into a unified command structure to work hard and eliminate the “unknown gunmen” in all the routes across the country.
The President was addressing the unified command as they took the oath of their respective offices during the weekend, as he confirmed them into the ranks and files of new command.
“It’s only a person who kills people that is known, why he kills people. From today onwards, let this animal called “Unknown gunmen”, let that person disappear from the roads of South Sudan. That is your work. If there is still something that kills people, and it’s not known, then that means you (military officers) are not genuine,” the President Kiir instructed the officers.
He wondered what the root cause of the recent fighting at different locations of the country is, saying he needs such hostility to stop.
However, President Kiir reiterated his word of not going back to war. He said that, he remains firm in his decision that there is nothing that will take the people of this country back to war again, adding that the people have suffered enough so the leaders have to make sure that peace reigns.
“In the past days I got a lot of reports, there was fighting in Jekou, there was fighting in Malual Gau, and there were also clashes in Leer and rain is coming yet there are civilians whose houses have been torched, why all these happening at a time when we have signed for peace. What the current war has produced are ranks! And if it was ranks that were previously killing people, I have given them to you (Military Generals) is there any other problem? Positions or ranks we have given them all but we want peace in our country,” Kiir told the Generals.
However, Kiir warned of the forces of Gen. Thomas Cirilo, the NAS, saying they are different people and they are fighting the government forces.
He said that as the parties agreed to unify, current unified forces should then work together to prevent anybody who is not with Dr. Riek Machar and not with the government to frustrate peace.
“I am wondering that there are forces who are still in the bush, are they forces of Riek Machar or do they have a different commander, because they are the ones now fighting in Leer, fighting in eastern Nasir where do they belong” President Kiir asked.
At the same time, Dr. Riek Machar Teny who is the First Vice President and the Chairman of SPLM/SPLA-IO who was present at the swearing in of unified command said, he personally would be happy if the unification of the forces was done in a shorter time for him to abandon his title of commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA-IO.
“I can relinquish one of the titles that I have, because if I still have people who have not gone to cantonment site, the responsibility is too heavy that you don’t feed them. So, if we can expedite the process of taking these forces to the cantonment, training and the Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), I then will be free and the responsibility will be with our President though we will still be assisting him,” he said.
He has urged the leaders to take the challenge of expediting the implementation of the security chapter in the shortest possible time and that he is confident that all forces are now unified, and under one command.