February 9, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan’s former Vice-president, Riek Machar, has described late Lual Diing Wol a national hero who spent most of his life in liberation struggles for the freedom of the people of South Sudan until he saw the independence of the country achieved in July 2011.
Lual Diing Wol, a veteran South Sudanese fighter and politician, died on Monday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, after battling illness for a long time.
Wol, sometimes referred to as Baba Africa, was formerly a presidential advisor until July 2013 when he was sacked by the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.
Reacting to the news of Wol’s demise on Tuesday while on an official mission to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, Machar, who also leads the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), said the nation has lost a “liberator and a great leader.”
“On behalf of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) and on my own behalf, I am passing my condolences for the untimely death of Comrade Lual Diing Wol. Our nation, South Sudan, has lost a national hero, a liberator and a great leader,” said Machar in his comment.
He said since his school days as a young man, Wol had spent the rest of his life in the struggle for several decades to free his people until attaining independence.
The top opposition leader also added that late Wol used to exercise his wisdom by offering wise advice to the political leadership in South Sudan, but added that it was an inevitable fate that “leaders come and go.”
Machar expressed his heartfelt condolences to Wol’s bereaved family, his constituency and the nation at large, adding that the late deserved a national burial in recognition of his long time struggle for the freedom of the people of South Sudan.
Besides participating in the previous liberation struggles for freedom since 1955, Wol, who hails from the Dinka ethnic group in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, joined the SPLM/SPLA in 1983, leading several thousands of recruits across the border to Ethiopia from his home area.
Wol was a Lieutenant General in the South Sudanese army (SPLA), a member of the SPLM’s political bureau, the highest executive organ of the ruling party, and represented his Malual North constituency in the national parliament in Juba.
He died at the age of 83 and survived by many sons and daughters.