National, News

Gen. Cirilo’s key commander defects

By William Madouk

National Salvation Front (NAS), an outfit rebel group in South Sudan led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo, has suffered loss of a top operations commander to defection.

Brig. Gen. Kennedy Kenyi Abdo, better known as “Kenyi Warrior”, switched sides to the Juba government, on Saturday.

He told Central Equatoria state Governor’s Press in Yei that he had left rebellion and would pursue the path of peace with the government.

“I, Brig. Gen. Kennedy Kenyi Abdo, do hereby, with effect from today, (June 24, 2023), declare that I have resigned from serving within the files and ranks of NAS under the leadership of Gen. Thomas Cirilo and immediately join the peace wagon under H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit,” he declared his allegiance.

Brig. Gen. Kenyi rubbished the news circulating about his arrest, saying that he is well.

“This is propaganda; people are saying that Kenyi is captured; let them see me today. I am here now; it must stop,” Kenyi said.

He called for an end to bloodshed across the country, adding that he made the decision for the sake of civilians who are suffering violence.

“I have joined the government because of our civilians who are suffering and longing for peace. Bloodshed must stop all over South Sudan,” he noted.

Brig. Gen. Kenyi calls of other renegades to abandon the act to join the government.

“I am asking my colleagues who have remained behind to join me. The propaganda that says that when you join the government, you will be killed is false,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, the governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil, hailed Kenyi for heeding President’s call for peace and assured him of his safety.

Adil said the decision made by Kenyi should be welcomed and urged the youth to allow the NAS rebels to come back, asserting that 2023 is a year of peace.

Kenyi joined the government in the presence of the commissioner of Yei River County, Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa, and the commissioner of Lainya County, Emmanuel Khamis Richard.

However, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, the spokesperson of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), last week accused the NAS rebels of indulging in illegal gold mining and trading activities.

“Now Gen. Cirilo has turned his rebellion into business; we got intelligence that he targets areas that are rich in gold, and he had even purchased some equipment,” Gen. Lul claimed.

According to the army mouthpiece, the NAS leader goes to do illegal mining; once he mines, he gets his minerals and goes and sells them; “this is what sustains him, wherever he is,” he added.

Gen. Lul argued that Gen. Cirilo wants to prolong his rebellion because of the illicit gold mining business, where he gets millions of dollars.

No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper could not independently verify the claims but recently there has been a spate of attacks on innocent civilians along Morobo-Yei Road, attributed to the NAS rebels in the area.

The havoc on Bishop Amos Data Elinama, where the man of God was ambushed and dragged out of his car, setting it ablaze along Morobo-Kaya Road, is one of the typically purported incidents of the NAS menace.

Archbishop Paul Pitia Yugusuk, of the Central Equatoria State Internal Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS), attested to this claim that elements of Gen. Cirilo’s group were responsible for the attack on the bishop, an account the NAS denied, terming it cheap’ propaganda.

On other hand, Gen. Lul alleged that he has audio evidence of Gen. Cirilo, clearly revealing that the NAS leaders intended to kill Bishop Elias Taban and not Amos Data.

The Army spokesman claimed that in the audio, NAS leader accuses Bishop Elias Taban of trying to dismantle his movement.


Comments are closed.