- SPLA) soldiers sit before the start of celebrations on the 31st anniversary of the SPLA in Juba May 16, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)
“The only space for them (SPLM-IO) forces is the sky. Everything is closed for them. There is no permission for them to establish cantonment sites in Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria. We have no such information. The general command has issued outstanding orders to clear these criminals within one month”, a senior military officer at the army’s 5th division headquarters in Wau said Saturday.
The officer said moral of the soldiers was boosted by the deployment of attack helicopters and heavy artillery in Western Bahr el Ghazal state where clashes continue between pro-government forces and armed opposition forces within the area.
“There is no problem. The chief of general staff came and he personally oversaw the operations. His presence boosted moral of our soldiers and now it is high with the deployment of Mi-24 attack helicopters and Mi-17 carriers. Our soldiers do not have to walk any longer”, he said.
The high level military officer, who preferred to remain anonymous since his assignment does not allow him to speak to the media, claimed soldiers would fight because of the rise in their pay and the ongoing mass promotion of lower level and middle rank officers.
“The recent increase in the pay of soldiers and the ongoing promotions of lower level and middle ranking officers has boosted the moral of our fighting forces. Those who were hesitant to take instructions and orders are now taking orders and instructions. The ongoing operations in Western Bahr el Ghazal and Western Equatoria are being led by the officers who have just been promoted”, he explained.
Analysts fear that lack of commitment to implement the deal by elements from the rival parties may ruin the peace process, coupled with continued violation of the ceasefire.