Home | News    Wednesday 20 October 2010

South Sudan’s renegade General Athor sets conditions for his return


By Thon Philip Aleu

October 19, 2010 (JUBA) – Representatives of a dissident general from the southern army – the SPLA – said Tuesday that he would not disrupt the south’s referendum on independence in January but would not leave hiding until his demands were met.

General George Athor’s representatives Dok James Puok (centre) Abraham Thon (left) and Abiel Ring (right), in Juba, south Sudan, Oct. 19 2010 (ST)

General George Athor Deng, the former deputy chief of staff for SPLA political and moral orientation, began fighting the southern government after April’s elections when he failed to win the governorship of Jonglei state as an ‘independent’.

Clashes between the SPLA and rebels loyal to Athor have killed at least 58 people since they began in May.

Representatives, claiming to be Athor’s commanders told a press conference in the south’s capital Juba the renegade general accepted the amnesty offered to him by Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir 7 October.

On Sunday a reconciliation meeting of 23 southern Sudanese parties in Juba ended with all parties agreeing to unite ahead of the referendum.

Despite not attending in person, Athor’s delegation, that such south-south dialogue were what they had wanted since the elections.

“This dialogue was our initiative after April elections and welcome it,” said Dok James Puok who introduced himself as external secretary for the movement.

Puok was flanked by Abraham Thon Chol and Abile Ring Majok, all commanders in Athors movement.

The SPLA have said that Athor’s militia has no more than 100 men although the remoteness his soldiers means that it hard to establish their size. Claims that some members of the SPLA defected to Athor’s group have been strongly denied by the southern government.

Athor’s representatives declined to speak in detail about their demands above the amnesty that has already been offered. They said that releasing those who had been arrested by southern authorities would be good for “confidence building”.

“We will not be obstacle to our [south Sudan’s] referendum,” Puok said.

“It’s not easy to come [back] after taking arms. You need to build confidence [first],” he said.

So far political and military attempts to curb the threat of Athor’s militia have failed. President Kiir’s pardon to Athor was also made to two other General Gatluak Gai. David Yauyau of Pibor county of Jonglei State, was also pardoned.

Gabriel Tanginyang, a militia leader formerly supported by Sudan Armed Forces in Khartoum, announced that he had joined the SPLA ahead of the Southern Political Parties Conference that ended on Sunday.

Gen. Athor has welcomed the amnesty but did not attend the five day discussion but sent 9 representatives.

Puok said Athor declared permanent cease fire around “areas liberated” by his forces.

He said that despite the clashes between his forces and the government they were one and “the same SPLM/A [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army]”.

The areas Athor had “liberated” were “for those who are denied their rights [during the elections]”, said Puok.

“The guarantee is ourselves. We have come [and] there is no fear,” Puok said when questioned on Athor’s committed to achieving peace with the government of southern Sudan (GOSS) before referendum due to begin 9 January 2010.

The three men claim that David Yauyau who comes from Jonglei state like Athor and Gen. Gatluak Gai of Unity state were part of a united “zonal command.”

Athor’s team denied they had any links to the government of Sudan in Khartoum, but said “enemies of the same person can be friends.”

Khartoum regularly armed smaller southern groups to fight the SPLA during the 22 year civil war between north and south, which ended in 2005.

In August southern authorities impounded in Faluj county in Upper Nile state, which they claimed was destined for Khartoum carry troops loyal to Athor.

But Puok denied the incident proved Athor was receiving assistance from the Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party.

“We were using our own resources to hire a helicopter”, Puok said.

Abraham Thon Chol, told the press that Athor accepted the elections results but had gone to bush as he felt intimated after assuming civilian life.

“Athor congratulated the [Jonglei] governor elect and went back to his home only to be attack[ed],” Thon said. He added their forces had to act in self defense.

South Sudan is widely expected to vote for independence in January’s vote, which was agreed in the 2005 peace deal between the SPLA and NCP.


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  • 20 October 2010 05:46, by murlescrewed

    I think it is time for Kiir to talk with capable generals like Athor and bring them back to the fold. We don’t want South to be divided and susceptible to north’s advances. Kiir should reappoint Athor to his former position in the army and integrate his soldiers and move on. Also, the quote that "enemies of the same person can be friends" is definitely disturbing. I don’t think Gen Athor will approve of such an irresponsible statement. Southerners should not unite with jellaba against other Southerners.

    • 20 October 2010 07:15, by Gatwech

      Hiding and more hiding will not help the situation, ya General George Athor Deng. You come home and negotiate the release of your commanders. Of course the amnesty covers them too.

      "Enemies of the same person can be friends" as you previously thought, can now turn into friends.

      Go home and make use of the amnesty declared by GOSS leadership before it is too late. The time bomb is ticking too fast and can explode any time. Be on the safe side, General.

      • 20 October 2010 08:28, by superior Junibi

        Last weeks reply because I found this dumb shit here.

        To Gatwitch.

        Who won the 1991 dumb cop???>
        Dinka Bor did. So who is small brained now?? the defeated or the victors???
        hahahha. Gatwich, I do belief you Nuers Hate Dinka Bors, but you guys will never defeat them, be it Ideological, tactics, bravery, or intelligence.
        You have tried before, so how are Dinka Bor coward when they defeated you and fuck you troops so good till you run to Khartoum???
        Fucken dumb idiots. Dinka Bor is fucking most of your girls now to upgrades their ugly features. ahahaha.

        • 20 October 2010 18:36, by Akim A. Gatluak

          To Dump Junubi (superior junubi)

          What the hell are you talking about? what ever your name is
          Do you consider yourself better than Gatwich in term of nonsense arguement on Tribals lines?
          You and Gatwich are both the same and alike. (wheird and stupid)
          No one is superior to anyone, Nuer needs Dinka and Dinka needs Nuer so does everyone else needs everybody else.
          All those who resorts to tribal divisions for their greavances will die foolish and stupid(you and Gatwich and alike).
          It doesn’t matter what name you call yourself: Dinka; Nuer; Murle; Zande or any other Southern Tribes, We all belong and we will always need one another just like your pinky finger needs your thumb for support. Know that and Southern Sudan will prosper.

          • 20 October 2010 20:32, by Ahmed Chol

            inferior Shumali (aka superior Junubi),

            What did Gatwech say that make you insult him? You injected tribalism in this discussion. You must an inferior Shumali that wants to flare up hatred between Dinka and Nuer. You are stupid.

            Ahmed Chol, the future commander of Any-nya III if the south joins the north.

            • 21 October 2010 07:25, by superior Junibi

              Dumb Ahmed chol,

              What do you know about this Dumb Gatwitch?
              The guy is too passive aggressive and he should be shaped down to realized without dinka Bor giving up all they have to safeguard this freaken SPLM, South sudan independence would have been a history now.

              We gave up our wealth to be looted by some dumb Riek’s troops while dinka Bor boys where fighting around Juba. Every year from 1984, Dinka bor boys where selected to go fight. and so on. BUt this Gatwitch does not see that. We gave up so much for this dumb shit to be talking shit.

              Anyway, Dinka is not running the government now, So you should know what that mean. Any aggression will cause your mother!!!! We will wipe your asses off that land because we are not protecting anything anymore.

    • 20 October 2010 09:55, by Shadrack Nuer Machut

      Bravo H.E Salva Mayardit,

      It is a great pleasure to have heard that all the internal insurgents against the Southern Sudan Government have come back for a common goal. Well done Mr. president and we expect from the returning renegade Gen. Athor to also pay back the same consideration to welcome the amnesty as far as self-determintion is concerned for the benefit of southerners.

  • 20 October 2010 06:46, by Bill Dhieu Manyang

    Dear Gen. Athor,

    It is high time that you know Southern Suadn recognized your support and still need such support as we move in to last and difficult time when all able Southern Suadanese are expected to unite their ranks and files regardless of roles.

    It amzed many of us who had been knowing your capacity when we learnt your defection. All you need to do is to come back and prepare yourself for the highly anticipated mission which you are known of while other things will be dealt in due process.

    Gen.Athor come back! Southern Sudan need you but not Kiir or Kuol Manyang

    • 20 October 2010 07:16, by maluach madit

      Thanks to both Dhieu and Msrewed for you comments.
      It’s true that the betterment of South is in the hands of Southerners.
      I like the coming back of George Athor, no benefit to fight oneself. Therefore both Athor and GOSS may read the say that say "Do not confuse your vested interests with ethics. Do not identify the enemies of your privilege with the enemies of humanity. Max Lerner, Actions and Passions, 1949.
      Welcome and work better than it was.

      Mr. Maluach.

    • 20 October 2010 07:23, by Jetson

      Indeed, I agree that Gen. Athor is needed within the SPLA army. He is such an experience fighter who had fought quite a number of battles…

  • 20 October 2010 09:00, by okucu pa lotinokwan

    Dear Southerners

    Gen, Athor fought for 22yrs in the bush for the right of south sudanese,at last for the post of governorship result let Gen Athor come to be a rebel to his own people whom he fought for.It is a very big ashame.
    Gen Athor your are forgiven for all those wrong did you have conflicted on your own former soliders and officers who die in cold blood,may their soul rise in peace,come home for your rank will be given back to you.See what Gabriel Tanginya did,despite all what Tanginya did in Upper Nile State in 2006 and 2009,please follow the same steps of Tanginya as well Dr Lam Akol.Join the boat of south Sudan referendum before it left you outside.You went as a rebel without preconditions please come to your area without preconditions H.E Maryadit has pardon you and the rest,why to fear.


  • 20 October 2010 09:15, by Akuma

    Illiterate people like Renegade Gen.Athor are aimless to the vision of Southerners. Athor is after money, if not, why did he defect the SPLM?

    Renegade gen. Athor must consider that he had committed atrocities that can never be forget by southern Sudanese.
    Indeed, he was loyal and competence person during the South-North civil war. However, what make matters worse to defect from SPLM/A is because he fail the governorship seat in his state so call Jonglei.

    Now, Do really Dissident Athor defect to fight SPLM in His Jonglei state or the whole Southern Sudan were he was still the chief of Staff of SPLA?

    In any election all over the planets, there is losser and winner. If Dissident Athor loss governorship seat. Why did he defect? Does it means his losing mean that is the end of his life in Southern Sudan?

    This is the final amnesty issued to all the dissdents otherwise, if Athor doesn’t accept the manesty in order to recover his position in SPLA/M. Then he should not blame anybody if thing come tough.

    Dr. Akuma

  • 20 October 2010 09:18, by Adam

    Dear Southerners,

    As I said yesterday, we need to do more for confidence building. The outcome of Juba South-South Dialogues solves about 60% of our differences. SPLA/M needs to work hard to attract everyone including Mr. Athor and many others we know. We cannot leave the situation without a peaceful solution. There is no way to kill each other, however, big fires are from small sparks.

    Tribalism, constitutional reforms, power and wealth –sharing, removing of injustices done to small (unarmed) tribes, land disputes and illegal confiscation of ancestral land by war lords etc have to be addressed soon. These are the killers of the South.

    We need true leadership – not wait-for-the-Master guidance attitudes.

    Adam Milawaki, Kansas City

    • 20 October 2010 13:09, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      Adam, you need medical check,your sickness is IQ problem.your saying or analysis is not proper working go and check it again otherwise you will follow greedy Athor for post and money matter.


  • 20 October 2010 14:13, by Luthern King

    A phew. let come together for the coming referendum rather than leadership wrangling . As representative from general Athor said that let look for coming referendum .Let follow our forefather for the struggle the had made for more than 2decade until they lost there life because of southern Sudan, if peace had been prevail amongst our selves than thank God for that . let other do the same .

    • 20 October 2010 16:17, by John M. Atem

      I was a little boy went I left my village to go to the bush. I have spent many years of my young life mostly in the neighboring African countries.
      Indeed, when we heard that the internationally-acclaimed Peace deal the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was reached in Naivasha, Kenya we were all felt with enormous joy that the longest-running agonizing political civil war never ever fought before in the history of continental Africa has come to its final conclusion.
      In fact, we were not that wrong.The Comprehensive Peace Agreement is truly abinding legal document that cannot and will not be abrogated by the National Congress Party. Unfortunately, the man who signed this soul-searching Comprehensive Peace Agreement and whom we all have heavily invested in him that he will changes the Sudan from being a dictactorial police state into inclusive democratic country perished in the helicopter crash before he realized his long-yearned dream of united secular new Sudan.
      It is truly unfortunate that we have lost Dr. John Garang de Mabior during critical time of need.
      Indeed, John Garang de Mabior has truly left leadership vaccum that will never be filled in the Southern Sudan.
      Furthermore, the leaders who were fighting a long side Dr. John Garang de Mabior should have proven themselves to the world community that they are brilliant and capable leaders who can cross the people of Southern Sudan into the promised land of their freedom, but unfortunately they turned out to be first-class thieves who are totally incapable of delivering badly needed basic services to our people.
      President Kiir is a brilliant man, but it is too bad that he has surrounded himself with bunch of thugs with out practical administrative skills.
      Folks, what we need in the Southern Sudan is not more leadership, but more brilliant, smart, postive-thinking and developmental-minded leaders who are more effective and capable of rendering these badly needed services to the people.
      I personally admired the late leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior’s consistent and persistent message. That is what make him a vision-inspiring leader.
      Folks, it is critically important that we deliver all these badly needed services to make transformative and tangible difference in the lives of our people. Clearly, that is the reason why, we fought 22 years civil war, because we want our people to enjoy relative comparative peace, liberty, freedom, and improved living standard.
      Folks, recently the National Congress Party has been running around chicken with its head cut off their their fatalistic, wishful-thinking and debased ideology of Somalization of Southern Sudan should we choose to become an indpependent political . This debased ideology of Somalization of Southern Sudan is never going to happen. We, the people of Southern Sudan are more than ever before fully prepared to combat all these challenges and eventualites should they occur and are ready to comprehensively eradicate them. So, you have no reason to be scared.
      Folks, this fatalisitc and lacking substance ideology of Somalization of Southern Sudan is nothing more than a political smokescreen specifically-designed to scare broad day light out of you, the people of Southern Sudan.
      May almighty God creator of Heaven and Earth bless the long-suffering, peace-loving, and liberty-seeking people and guided them into the promised land of freedom, liberty, equality and social justice.
      The writer is the orphaned son of the late freedom figher. He has completed Certificates in Agriculture, Peace Education, Convention on the rights of the child and Diploma in Criminal Justice.
      May the life-long vision of our late leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior shines on forever and ever Amen.

  • 20 October 2010 15:41, by Kur

    Mr. Athor must be careful. The people of South Sudan do not want conditions from him. He should make use of the amnesty offered to him by GOSS on behalf of Southern Sudanese. If it slips away unanwsered, it will be regretable for Athor in the long run. We do not have time dealing with real things and nonsense.


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