13 June 2014

South Sudan: Former Army General Calls for Popular Uprising

Photo: Voxcom/IRIN
Dr Riek Machar, Chief Mediator Juba talks, Rikwangba, Sudan 13 April 2007.

Juba — A general who recently defected from South Sudan army to the opposition has called for popular uprising against the Juba government, which he claimed was struggling to survive and remain in power by relying on ethnic allies.

Speaking exclusively to Sudan Tribune on Friday, Gen. Dau Aturjong said it was time for South Sudanese to openly come out and make bold decisions against president Salva Kiir's regime.

The officer announced his switch to the opposition led by former vice-president Riek Machar in Nairobi, Kenya last month.

"There is no any other time for change. Our country has entered a critical stage where we must accept the responsibility and take bold decision to bring the change needed by our people. The regime of Salva Kiir and his friends is on its last knee and should not be assisted to remain in power anymore," Gen. Aturjong said by phone.

"It has demonstrated that they do not care about the plights of our people, even the soldiers they are using to defend their interests are starving in their trenches", he added.

The former division commander hailing from South Sudan's Northern Bahr el Ghazal state urged all members of his community currently serving in the pro-government army to join rebellion. He also extended similar messages to the other communities in the new nation.

"I would like our people to know that South Sudan is not an individual property for them to continue to keep quiet and expect a change which does not come by itself. It requires sacrifices. I have done that several times. Most of our people know I am a field commander", the army defector said.

He further explained that he opted to join rebellion in order to fight the "enemy" who allegedly failed to mismanage the country's affair, despite the freedom gained after years of civil wars.

"I call upon all people in the regime and in the other institutions, especially those who are in the army to defect from this government," urged Gen. Aturjong.

NATIONAL DISASTER

According to the general, it was high time the civil population launched general strikes through civil disobedience, urging soldiers from Northern Bahr el Ghazal to abandon their deployment areas.

"There is no reason for them to die in front lines while their own family members, particularly their wives and children are dying of hunger. It is better the return to their homes so that they go and begin to look after their own families instead of all dying," the general told Sudan Tribune.

"The wives and children die at homes because of hunger and their husbands die in front line in defend of self-interest group is a double national disaster and unacceptable", he added.

The general also appealed to pro-government fighters in Upper Nile region to join the opposition, vowing to facilitate their movement and further ensure they were well taken care of.

"Leaving the government is another way of fighting", the army general stressed.

Some key opposition figures have recently also agitated for mass civil disobedience against the Juba regime.

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