South Sudan armed opposition faction promotes over 400 senior officers
– Military leadership of the South Sudan’s armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA-IO) has promoted senior officers including the recently elected secretary general of the SPLM-IO, Dhieu Mathok Wol, in what appeared to be a general promotion of the current officers.
In a series of promotions, dated 26 December 2015, signed by the chairman and commander-in-chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO), Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, over 400 senior officers have been promoted to the ranks of First Lieutenant General, Lieutenant General, Major General and Brigadier General, respectively.
Among the promoted officers include the SPLM-IO secretary general, Dhieu Mathok, who is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General with effect from 21 December 2014.
A number of previously constitutional post holders who have been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General include Ramadan Hassen Laku and Tijwog Hather Agwet, former member of national parliament and presidential advisor, respectively.
Other former constitutional post holders including Dak Duop Bichiok, former governor of Upper Nile state and Duer Tut Duer, current governor of Latjor state in the opposition faction, as well as Jal Thomas Jal, former minister of finance in Unity state, among many others have been promoted to the rank of Major General in the army.
A most senior officer in the recent promotion is Simon Jok Gatwech who is promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant General in Police force.
The promotion of the military commanders came less than two weeks after the first group of the advance team of the SPLM-IO arrived in Juba for implementation of the peace agreement signed in August by president Salva Kiir and the opposition leader, Machar.
The agreement to end 21 months of civil war provides for maintaining of separate two rival armies in South Sudan for at least 18 months before their unification can get completed during a transitional period of 30 months, pending elections.
Machar, who shall be the first vice president in a transitional government of national unity, shall also be the commander-in-chief of the SPLA-IO army with separate command structure headed by a chief of general staff who shall be reporting directly to him.