EDITED BY KALAHAN DENG
November 23, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan army (SPLA) chief of staff, Gen. Paul Malong said his troops are ready for any option to end war in the country.
- S Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is received by Chief of General Staff of the SPLA Paul Malong Awan at the airport in Juba.
“As soldiers, we are ready for anything, whichever option, we will accept to stop this war. But for us peace is our priority and defends the constitution, territorial integrity and guards the country against any foreign aggression and any other threats, whether they come from within or outside”, said Malong.
He was speaking at a meeting attended by the governor of Wau state Andrea Mayar Achor, transport minister, John Luk Jok and finance minister Stephen Dhieu Dau during a recent visit to Wau, one of South Sudan’s new states.
Many analysts say that while the government has ostensibly claimed it remains committed to the peace process, it has in fact been actively preparing for war.
They fear that by absorbing hundreds of armed opposition faction allied to the first vice president who are familiar with the terrain, the army could reconstitute itself as a stronger force, rather than any amalgamate of tribes.
Others content that reports of recent recruitment suggest the army is attempting to replace troops lost through defected or voluntarily decided to abandon active military services when war broke out in 2013.
“Judging by the activities of some division commanders, you find that they are actually preparing for the war than peace”, a security analyst close to military commanders told Sudan TribuneWednesday.
“They are rebuilding their force because some of their fighters may have left the main base, or opted to abandon military service. So the SPLA command needs to rebuild its force to counter any attack that could come from any force, but also with a bigger force”, he added.