February 14, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan army, the SPLA, has denied accusation of being turned into tribal institution by former deputy chief of staff for logistic Gen. Thomas Cirillo and accused him of quitting to avoid corruption investigation.
- Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo (R) with commander of presidential guards Maj. Gen. Marial Chanuong at Juba airport on November 5, 2014 (ST).
“His (Gen. Thomas Cirillo’s) resignation was aimed at avoiding accountability and escaping justice after a massive corruption was unearthed at his directorate,” reads a press statement issued by SPLA spokesman Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang late on Monday.
Fifty-one officers, including Gen. Cirillo, were being investigated since December 2016 for disappearance of army food, fuels, lubricants and military equipment, said the military spokesman.
“[Gen.] Thomas was personally and deeply involved in a scamp in which huge consignments of military food rations, fuel, lubricants and equipment were either diverted for personal use or consumption, disappeared, sold or stolen,” Lul stressed.
Gen. Thomas Cirillo, a Bari as the Vice-President James Wani Igga, announced resignation from the army last week and accused the President Salva kiie and the SPLA chief of Staff Paul Malong Awan of undermining the national character of the army.
President Kiir denied the accusation, insisting that the majority Dinka are in the army on voluntary basis.
“SPLA strongly disputes all inaccurate and inconsistent reasons he cited for quitting the national army,” Lul said, adding that the SPLA challenges the former deputy chief of staff to “return to the country to clear his name.”
Gen. Cirillo has not indicated his next course of action but he is alleged to be out of the country since December.