Gen. Thomas Cirilo, the SPLA has never been a Dinka army, but a liberation army

Posted: February 13, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, David Matiop Gai, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

The formation of SPLA in 1983: SPLA is not a Dinka army as defected South Sudanese claims overdue times in South Sudan

By David Matiop Gai, Juba South Sudan


Red army procession in Aweil, Sept 2016

February 13, 2017, (SSB) –— When untruth leads its own ways first, the truth will disappear from the surface reality, but truth itself or telling the truth will set us free. The false appearances today in South Sudan have fault lines or divisive great lines in South Sudan politics.  I want to deconstruct what distinct between inside and outside SPLA in South Sudan as a South Sudanese. It is better to go through the corridors of SPLA formation in 1983 than creating liars here and there.  These are liars created and circulate across the globe tarnishing the image of Dinka but the truth will save Dinka people from the burning hatred of their fellow South Sudanese people.

I am here writing this article to repute a claim documented by Gen. Thomas Cirillo in his resignation letter addressing it to the President of the Republic Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. In his letter addressing to the president, or to resign from his position, is not a problem because it is his right to do so if he feels he could not work in the army or in the government of South Sudan anymore.  Resignation mean acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable. Resignation is not a crime and it had not starting with Gen. Thomas Cirillo, but many people did that in favour of their integrity like Nhial Deng Nhial resigned one time in Kiir government, and he did not touched any tribe in South Sudan, which mean Cirillo resignation is something else, or non-other than rebellion.

In his resignation letter, Gen Cirillo said, “However, President Salva Kiir and his Dinka leadership clique have tactically and systematically transformed the SPLA into partisan and a tribal army.” This is the area where my critics cited on Mr. Cirillo statement, and it is not Gen Cirillo alone, many people who defected in South Sudan have said over it several times, but they are claiming it overdue time. I have said this in most of my writings and analysis, until South Sudanese who have disputes with government of President Salva Kiir distinguish Dinka community, and Dinka government they have accused from Dinka people in South Sudan, they will not success in their political exercise, and what they want because if President Kiir leaves the leadership of the country today.

These people who are killing Dinkas on high ways are still enemies of Dinkas people; because they are not killing Kiir who has power, they are killing Dinkas who are innocent civilians in the country and they turn these killings they are doing as government doing it like on the 9/2/2017, Professor Pope Ajiith Akuei was killed on Juba-Nimule road. Yea off course, Dr. John Garang left South Sudan, did they stop killing Dinkas?  No, and Kiir is in powering, they continue killing Dinkas. Is it the country we offer our sons for freedom? May be or may not; who knows it?

What I know of SPLA, SPLA is not a Dinka army one hundred percent right, but the facts about SPLA is majority Dinka. I don’t agree with South Sudanese who always defected and called SPLA tribal or Dinka army. These are all mere excuses, but let me explain to the world majority of Dinka people in SPLA as today national army in South Sudan based on two well-known stories because I have seen South Sudanese journalists, regional, and international analysts have failed to address this misleading agenda over past four years of conflict.

Majority of Dinka in SPLA started in 1983. For example, in Dinka Bor Community where the chairman of SPLA/M held from, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, the formation of SPLA in 1983 was the history of Bor youths joining SPLA in a big number. The greater Bor community joined SPLA in tens of thousands (10,000) youths named battalions of Koryom apart from other battalions like Tigger, Jamuth, Timtha, 105, and 104.

Again, there was buluk ke diak meaning sub-chiefs were ordered to name three youths per each chief to join SPLA in particular following the two years from the formation, and written draft of SPLA manifesto. After buluk ke diak, red army were collected with more than thirty thousand children from Bor to Ethiopia, and they were settled in Panyidu, Itang, Dimo, Raate, and zinke.  On top, another 12 thousands red army from Bor to Polataka in late 1989- 1990. And finally, more than fifteen (15) thousands of Koryom two were trained in Torit in 1990 -1992.

The purpose of this article is to prove those who called SPLA a Dinka army who lost its vision wrong and to analyse it well, because if Dinka Bor Community who is a portion of Dinka tribe in South Sudan has more eighty thousands, (80, 000) soldiers who joined SPLA during liberation struggle, than what about other fifty, (50) sections of Dinka tribe in South Sudan? How many people do they have contributed to the liberation struggle?

In fact I don’t deny other tribes contribution to the struggle in South Sudan, but these tribes contribution to SPLA during liberation struggle cannot even compete with Dinka Bor leave alone the entire Dinka community. Gen Cirillo know this right from the beginning. These are the facts analysis failed to be realizes by analysts in South Sudan conflict when people talk of SPLA as being Dinka army, and I want to tell defectors that if the issues Dinka majority in the army are your objectives for fighting, then you are destroying South Sudan nothing.

Another thing we want to know is the statistics of SPLA high commanders during the liberation struggle.  Still Dinka officers were many comparing to other tribes. South Sudanese who are claiming being removed from SPLA today, where were they during struggle?  Just let begin in top SPLA leadership here below.

  1. CDR, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, SPLA/M chairman, Dinka.
  2. CDR, Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, Deputy Chairman, Dinka.
  3. CDR, William Nyuon Buay Machar, Nuer.
  4. CDR, Salva Kiir Mayardit, Dinka.
  5. CDR, Arok Thon Arok, Dinka
  6. CDR, Yousif Kuwa Meke, Nuba.
  7. CDR, James Wani Igga, Equatoria or Bhari.
  8. CDR, Daniel Awet Akot, Dinka.
  9. CDR, Dr. Riek Machar, Nuer.
  10. CDR, Dr. Lam Akol, Shilluk.
  11. Justice Majier Gai Ayuel, Dinka.
  12. CDR, Kuol Manyang Juuk, Dinka.
  13. CDR, Martin Manyiel Ayuel, Dinka.
  14. CDR, Galerio Moddi, Equatoria or Latuko.

These above top SPLA statistics of high commanders was right from the beginning of SPLA formation in 1983, and apart from commanders, alternate commanders, divisions commanders, captains, 2nd LT, 1st LT, and soldiers; among 14 high commanders, seven (8) out of 14 are Dinkas. My is why people who are claiming right now about Dinka majority in the army did not claims their doubt before when people were dying? Where were they when eight (8) members of Dinka tribe among 14 sacrificed their lives in the war? Well am not discriminating, am question the ill intention of today defectors who feed public with lies, and spoils and deny the total sacrifice made by Dinka community to contribute their sons for the cost of liberation.

Telling the truth is hundred percent part of my life, the second tribe who had a big number during SPLA was Nuer because of defect and re-join SPLA several times but they defected to Khartoum with Dr. Riek Machar in a big number in 1991 and the only Nuer who remained loyal in SPLA during 1991 Nasir faction were CDR Koang Chuol, CDR John Koang Nyuon, late CDR David Dhual, late CDR Nyuon Kuach, and CDR James Hoth Mai, the former SPLA chief of general staff and the rest who remain loyal to SPLA who are not mention here were alternate commanders, and some soldiers.

Yesterday, I read through resignation letter of Gen.Thomas Cirillo, his disappointment, and his contribution to the liberation struggle, but to me I have seen a total destruction of South Sudanese generals, and politicians through spirit of national compromise offer to them by the President. I am the only person denying Gen. Thomas tremendous contribution he said he had made to the SPLA, nation, and accused President Kiir of making SPLA as a tribal army. In 1992, in the last assault to Juba, Gen Cirillo joined SPLA with condition of escaping killing from Arabs, and his brother who did not run to bush was got killed after him. Arabs in Juba were killing educated Southerners, generals, and university students which forced Cirillo to joined SPLA lately in 1992.

Ask Cirillo when he joined SPLA in the above year, he got many areas were captured from Khartoum government, and Gen. Cirillo was sent to new Sudan brigade by C-in –C with many Dinkas commanders and soldiers. Why denying today SPLA is for Dinka, why not before?  How soldiers did Gen. Cirillo brought with when he left Juba in 1992 and joined SPLA? The SPLA soldiers are national army supposed to be known right from the very beginning and Gen Cirillo know it very well. Others who call SPLA army know it too.

This misleading information of defected South Sudanese calling SPLA Dinka army in South Sudan is a question of self-disgrace. Why was SPLA not a Dinka army during the 22 years of struggle? Does it mean that if South Sudan is totally liberated, then people who run back to Khartoum may calls the owner of the garden who suffers different worse face of bush era by tribe name? How come an owner of the garden work over his/her garden for whole day and somebody came in at the evening, and said your work at last is useless?

To those who create public unrest in South Sudan, save on your useful sense! There is nowhere you can put Dinka tribe or any other tribe in South Sudan whom you hate beyond singling out, targeted on high ways, kills in schools, poisoned in hotels, preach liars on social media, and so on to diminishing. This war you are gearing toward tribe will not be managed at the juncture of propagandas, and killings. Arabs killed Dinkas until they got tired. You killed Dinkas during struggle in favouring Arabs until you joined them.

We want inclusive army, fine; and if the President said today I want 20, 000 youths from Equatoria, 20,000 youths from Bhar el-ghazal, and more other 20, 000 youths from Upper Nile, still population of Dinka in these 60, 000 youths to join the army will still remain high. So any dispute between two people should not include the community, otherwise hiding colour is now showing itself and rumours against Cirillo for all past years had come to light, and becomes true. You have killed many people while in still operating as deputy general chief of staff for training, and recently deputy general chief of staff for logistics.

The author is a co-founder of South Sudan Mental Health care Organization, (SSMHCO). He holds Bachelor degree in Social Work and Social Administration from SSCUST, Bachelor of Theology from CLT, Bungoma, Kenya/Kalispell, USA, and a fellow researcher. He can be reach at

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address, city and the country you are writing from.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s