Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka
Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka

A senior South Sudanese official who resigned from the country’s army (SPLA) in February has formed a new rebel movement, vowing to overthrow the current administration of President Salva Kiir.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka
Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka
Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, former deputy chief of logistics, resigned from the SPLA accusing the army of turning into a tribal army dominated by ethnic Dinka. Swaka said in statement on Tuesday that his rebel group, the National Salvation Front (NAS) would use all avenues to fight the current government.

“The National Salvation Front (NAS) is convinced that to restore sanity and normalcy in our country, Kiir must go. He must vacate the office without further bloodshed, with a clear conscience and with determination, we declare the birth of a citizen-imposed change,” he wrote in his letter.It still remains unclear how strong the new rebellion will be, or whether it will join ranks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by Deputy President Riek Machar.

SPLA spokesman Lul Ruai Koang downplayed any major threat the new rebel movement would pose on Juba, claiming that Swaka has no capacity as a new rebel leader to mobilize a strong rebel force. “His announcement and formation of a new movement will not have any bearing on the national army and the government because when he defected, he defected alone and it doesn’t affect our overall performance,” Koang told Xinhua by phone. South Sudan has been devastated by a civil war that broke out in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Machar denied the accusation but then mobilized a rebel force.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 led to the formation of a transitional unity government in April, but was again devastated by fresh violence in July, 2016.Tens of thousands of South Sudanese have been killed, with over 2 million displaced and another 4.6 million left severely food insecure, since December 2013.

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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