South Sudan

Kiir losing private army in Juba demilitarisation

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN - DECEMBER 28:  South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit is seen with the members of Presidential Guard during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Juba, South Sudan on December 28, 2014. (Photo by Samir Bol/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Kiir and his guards

The regional bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), is proposing to strip South Sudan president, Salva Kiir, of a huge number of bodyguards and private army in a move to demilitarise the capital Juba.

A move highly praised by former vice president, Riek Machar, seeks to demilitarise the national capital, Juba.

The IGAD peace proposal on security arrangement provides for at least 18 out of 30 months of the transitional period during which to complete integration of the two rival forces loyal to President Kiir and those allied to rebel leader, Machar.

The two principles will separately be commanders-in-chief of their respective armies, pending completion of the integration process.

The two forces will begin to assemble 90 days after signing of a final peace agreement.

South Sudan’s capital, Juba is expected to be demilitarised and its security provided by international and regional forces.

A radius of 25kms will be imposed for 30 months until the end of the transitional period.

President Kiir will be allowed to have 260 soldiers as bodyguards while the armed opposition leader, Machar, will have 195 bodyguards.

The security sector reforms would transform the two rival armies into one professional army in the process of amalgamation during the transitional period, according to opposition.

Yet, Kiir believes demilitarisation of the national capital would amount to surrendering of the country’s sovereignty to foreign agents.

War report says Kiir’s private army executed massacres

A report by the commission of inquiry on South Sudan quotes Gen. Mac Paul, former Director of Military Intelligence, saying on the December 11, 2013, a lot of rumours were going around – that Salva has ordered the disarmament of Nuer in the Presidential Guard – from the 10th to 11th – Taban called me to say we have heard there is impending disarmament of the Nuer.

“Instead there was a counter-rumor that Salva has mobilized his own tribe in Luri, near his farm, that he has brought 7,000 from Bahr el Ghazal – in reality, this force was 311, because 10 of them died in training.”

Major General Marial Chanuong Yol Mangok, the commander of the Presidential Guard, otherwise known as the Tiger Battalion, discounted this as “false information,” explaining: “people not on duty leave their arms in the armoury, only those on duty carry arms.”

General James Hoth Mai, the former Chief of Staff said that night a Commander, a Nuer, killed his deputy, a Dinka, who was refusing to open the armoury to be opened.

“That same night, people came and broke open the armoury” which contradicts the claim by President Kiir on December 17 that there had been a coup attempt.

Major General Mac Paul, then the Director of Military Intelligence, told the Commission that 38 died on the side of government and 59 on the other in the fighting in the barracks on the 15th of December 2013.

IGAD believes leaving the capital with no armies would prevent similar future episodes.

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