Juba — South Sudan's president Salva Kiir Mayardit on Monday made reforms in the national army, dismissing a number of senior army officers from their duty as well as removing them from active service.
In a presidential decree read on the state-owned South Sudan Television, Kiir relieved all the deputies of the Chief of General Staff in the army and replaced them with new promoted officers.
The deputies to the General Chief of Staff of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) who were dismissed include Lt. Gen. Obuto Mamur, Lt. Gen. Biar Atem Ajang, Lt. Gen. Pieng Deng Kuol, Lt. Gen. Ayuen Alier Jongror, Lt. Gen. Wilson Deng Kuoirot and Lt. Gen. Kuol Deim Kuol.
The generals were also removed from the active membership of the army and put on reserve.
Kiir, in a separate, also decree promoted a number of officers from the rank of Major General to the rank of Lieutenant General and appointed them as new deputies to the General Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. James Hoth Mai.
The new deputies include Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirino Swaka, deputy Chief of General Staff for Training, Lt. Gen. James Ajongo Mawut, deputy for Operations, Lt. Gen. Malek Ruben Riak, deputy for Logistics, Lt. Gen. Malual Ayom Dor, deputy for Administration, Lt. Gen. Mangar Buong Aluel, deputy for Inspection and Lt. Gen. Chol Thon Balok, deputy Chief of General Staff for Moral and Orientation.
The President also put three senior officers in charge of the army sectors in the three greater regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and Equatoria. These include Lt. Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak in charge of Sector One (Wau), Lt. Gen. Johnson Gony Biliu for Sector Two (Malakal) and Lt. Gen. Charles Lam Chol in charge of Sector Three (Torit) respectively.
The SPLA's commander-in-chief also removed the following Major Generals from the active army service and put them on reserve list, including: Maj. Gen. Faustino Jada, Maj. Gen. Elia Waya Nyipuoch, Maj. Gen. Louis Aliandro Paul, Maj. Gen. Dr. Henry Makeng, Maj. Gen. Dr. Akol Ding Duot, Maj. Gen. Peter Bol Kong, Maj. Gen. Peter Yich Biet, Maj. Gen. James Gatduel Gatluak, Maj. Gen. Salva Chol Ayak, Maj. Gen. Matur Chol Juot, Maj. Gen. John Mayik Jou, Maj. Gen. Andrea Dominic, Maj. Gen. Peter Parnyang, Maj. Gen. Dau Atur Jongnyuon, Maj. Gen. Kout Akot Bol, Maj. Gen. Kichener Mota, Maj. Gen. Gatwech Dual, Maj. Gen. Samuel Mayik Machar, Maj. Gen. James Othou Adong, Maj. Gen. Peter Dor Majur, Maj. Gen. John Bol Then, Maj. Gen. Saddam Chayout Manyang, Maj. Gen. John Macham Atem, Maj. Gen. Thomas Tot Bangoang, Maj. Gen. Elia Ladu Soro, Maj. Gen. Abraham Jok Aring, Maj. Gen. Garang Akok Adut, Maj. Gen. Garang Bol Panger and Maj. Gen. Michael Nhialkot Deng.
The move came as a surprise as the army is in the process of transformation while trying to sort out the border disputes with the neighbouring army of Sudan. The changes also came as the south-ruling party (SPLM) prepares for an extraordinary convention towards the end of February.