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Kiir reshuffles top SSPDF commanders, appoints ex-SPLA-IO general

Author: Koang Pal Chang | Published: Friday, June 12, 2020

Salva Kiir, C-in-C of SSPDF during a military function at the army HQ, Bilpam in Juba. PHOTO: AFP

President Salva Kiir, who is also the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, has carried out a mini reshuffle in the army, and awarded one of the senior military positions to the former SPLA-IO top general, Lt. Gen. James Koang Chol.

In a statement by the Chief of Defense Forces, General J.J. Okot, the Commander-In-Chief has issued a Republican Order for the re-assignment and deployment of officers of the SSPDF, 2020 A.D with effect from 12 June 2020.

The President appointed Lt. Gen. Chol Thon Balok as the new Deputy Chief of Defense Forces. Gen. Thon was the former governor of defunct Central Upper Nile state.

He also appointed the former Deputy Chief of Staff for the SPLA-IO, Lt. Gen. James Koang Chol as the Commander for the Training for SSPDF.

In March, Gen. Koang and the other three Generals abandoned Dr. Riek’s movement and joined Kiir over what they described as nepotism within SPLM/A-IO.

They include Maj Gen. Wang Chang former Deputy Director-General for National Security[SPLA-IO], and former member of the Joint Defense Board Technical team, Maj Gen. Gatkhor Gatluak, and former Co-Chair of Joint Defense Board or JDB, and Maj. Gen. Joseph Yatta former Commander of Division 2B, and former member of JDB.

This came after they were dismissed from Joint Defense Board by the SPLM/A-IO leadership.

Speaking to Eye Radio this afternoon [Friday], the SSPDF spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai said based on the recommendation from the Chief of Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. JJ Okot, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, resigned some senior military generals including three generals who were put on the reserve list.

“It is normal military work for officers to reassign from time to time. It is from His Excellency, the president under commander in chief of SSPDF,” said Maj. Gen. Lul.

“He [President] has the prerogative to reassign senior officers on the recommendation of the chief of the defense force, this is exactly what he did.”

“Some officers were put on the reserve list, three Major Generals were promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant Generals. There was a need for them to be reassigned and given new assignments.”

“So this was based on the recommendation of the Chief of Defense Forces, the Commander-In-Chief approved the reassignment of those officers which is a normal routine.”

Other senior military generals reassigned by the President include Lt. Gen. Charles Madut Akol, who is moved from Military Operation to the Inspector General of SSPDF.

Lt. Gen. Santino Deng Wol, is reconfirmed by the President as the Deputy Chief of Defense Forces for Administration and Finance.

President Kiir reconfirmed Lt. Gen. Thoi Chany as the head of the Logistics and Procurement, and Lt. Gen. Peter Dor as the Commander of Riverine Force.

Lt. Gen. Rin Tueny Mabor who previously doubled as the Chief of Military Intelligence and Ground Force is reconfirmed as the Chief of Military Intelligence.

The Commander – In – Chief promoted Maj. Gen. Marshal Stephen Bababen to the rank of Lieutenant General and assigned him as the SSPDF Military Operations Commander.

President Kiir also recalled three divisions Commanders and reassign them to different capacities to the SSPDF Military Head Quarters in Bilpam.

They include the Commander of the Mechanized Division based in Jonglei, Lt. Gen. Malual Majok Chiengkuac assigned as the head of the Military Moral Orientation and Chaplainship, the Commander of the Division-Three, Lt. Gen. Butruce Bol Bol assigned as the Commander of the Ground Forces, and the Commander of Division-Four, Maj. Gen. Samson Mabior assigned as Air Force Commander.

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