18 December 2013

South Sudan: Juba Crisis - 'President's Order to Disarm Nuer Caused Mutiny and Chaos'

Photo: Andrew Green/IRIN
Internally displaced people at the Episcopal Cathedral in Juba.

Juba — Not a coup plotted by his opponents, but a presidential order to disarm Nuer soldiers within the presidential guard triggered the mutiny against Salva Kiir that led to the growing chaos in South Sudan, says the former Minister of Higher Education Peter Adwok.

He has provided a detailed account of how the fighting started leading to the current chaos. In a just published narrative he writes about last Sunday evening 15 December after the meeting of the National Liberation Council had failed.

Even before the closing of the meeting the president told one of the army commanders to disarm his soldiers of the so-called Tiger Battalion: "The information we got is that President Kiir ordered Major General Marial Ciennoung to disarm his soldiers."

"Marial was at the closing session of the NLC. He left the scene immediately and called for a parade of the Tiger Battalion. He briefed the troops and ordered them to surrender their arms. They obeyed and executed the orders and dispersed."

"Now in a mischief, the officer in charge of the stores opened the stores and rearmed the Dinka soldiers. A Nuer soldier, who happened to be nearby questioned this. A fistfight ensued between the two attracting the attention both the commander and his deputy to the scene."

"They now could not control the situation as more soldiers came in and broke into the stores. The fight ensued and the Nuer soldiers managed to take control of the headquarters... It was in the morning (Monday) that SPLA reinforcement came in and dislodged the mutineers. This can later be verified and the truth will come out," Adwok narrates.

Adwok explains how the issue became tribal: "Military doctrine dictates that once a contingent of mutinous troops have been dislodged, appeal is made for their surrender and then disarmed. Those who remained loyal (to the president) are also disarmed to prevent bad blood."

"The loyal troops of Tiger, hailing mainly from Warrap and Aweil, have not been disarmed. In fact, they are the ones rampaging Juba, looting and shooting to kill any Nuer in the residential neighbourhoods," Adwok claims.

The senior and aged politician heard yesterday that he is also on the list of wanted politicians. "This may be my last contribution, because, as I said, I'm waiting for the police in order to join my colleagues in detention."

As of Wednesday afternoon he seemed still to be still at large.

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