Home | News    Tuesday 28 August 2012

Gen. Peter Gatdet calls for calm after death of Paulino Matip


August 27, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s army general, Peter Gatdet Yak, has called for calm in the region after the death of his closest comrade in arms, Gen. Paulino Matip Nhial, who died of diabetes on August 22 last week after battling the illness for 17 years.

A member of the SPLA plays a trombone in a pro independence march January 5, 2011 in Juba, Sudan (Getty)

Late Paulino Matip and Peter Gatdet hail from the same Bul-Nuer community of Mayom County in Unity state.

The two commanded a force of 51,000 combatants, mostly from Unity state, which they later integrated into the rank and file of the South Sudan’s army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), in 2006, when Gen. Matip signed the Juba Declaration with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir.

The Declaration brought together South Sudan’s two armies after decades of maintaining their separate entities controlling different geographical areas inside South Sudan; a move that weakened Khartoum’s military standing to control the region.

As a result of the unification of the two forces, Paulino Matip, who was a major general and head of his forces, was then promoted to the rank of Lt. General and appointed to the position of the deputy commander-in-chief of the SPLA in 2006; the second highest position in the army’s hierarchical arrangement, which he held for six years until his death last week.

Matip’s closest aide, Major General Peter Gatdet Yak, is said to command the loyalty from Matip’s forces after his death.

Unlike Matip, Gatdet has not stayed loyal to the Juba government since 2006 launching the Sudan South Liberation Army (SSLA) in April 2011 complaining of corruption and tribalism. In August that year Gatdet left the rebel group but failed to persuade all its soldiers to rejoined the SPLA. The SSLA rebellion, which Juba says is backed by Khartoum, continues with Mayom County in Unity State one of the worst affected areas.

After Matip’s death many South Sudanese and analysts have expressed anxiety about the fate his forces, which make up a significant portion of the South Sudan Army. With South Sudan just over a year old the country is struggling to transform its army from several armed groups loyal to specific political parties, communities or army commanders, to a professional non-partisan national army which can be free from tribalism.

During a funeral prayer on Sunday at his residence which was attended by nearly ten thousand people, Gen. Peter Gatdet, called on the people of South Sudan to remain calm, adding that it was God who took the life of the general and nobody was to blame for his death.

Gatdet further appreciated the mass turnout during the funeral occasion, saying it indicated that the general was a man of all the people of the ten states of South Sudan.

One of Matip’s elder sons, Kaang Paulino Matip, told the gathering that his family was appreciative of the government’s attempt to save his life by referring him to some of the best hospitals in the world over the years.

Kaang read the will of his father, which included his request to the government to transfer the ownership of his government’s residence to his family and legalize the ownership.


President Salva Kiir Mayardit in his remarks during the Sunday funeral described late Paulino Matip as somebody who kept to his promises on peace and unity.

Kiir said late Paulino Matip was his partner who reunited the people of South Sudan in the Juba Declaration in 2006. He narrated how he met Paulino Matip for the first time on August 10, 2005, only 10 days after he assumed the leadership of then to be formed government of South Sudan after the death of the late leader, John Garang de Mabior, on July 31, 2005.

He met Matip in Khartoum’s Republican Palace and talked peace and unity between the two forces which he said Matip accepted without any pre-conditions. He said Matip was very willing to join with him, adding that he even volunteered to give him confidential information about the affairs in Khartoum.

The SPLA’s commander-in-chief said his deputy, Matip, had kept his word.

South Sudan’s vice president, Riek Machar, urged the people of the new nation, particularly the family members, to move forward and leave behind the pain caused by the death of Paulino Matip. He said the man died peacefully from his illness without causing any violent havoc which avoided the bitter violent memories experienced in the past.

Machar called on the rebels from Mayom County in Unity state to come back and rejoin the government.

Bishop Paulino Lukudu in earlier occasion said Matip was a fighter and defender of the citizens of South Sudan wherever he found them including in Khartoum during the movement. He revealed that he reconciled Kiir and Matip, both Catholic Christians, in 2005 in Khartoum, saying late Matip did not hesitate to talk to Kiir about the unification of their forces when the Bishop approached him.

He said the nation has lost a great leader who united the people of South Sudan and had died a friend to everybody.


He was born in 1942 in a place called Ngop in the present Mayom County in Unity state. Gen. Matip married to 47 wives and survived by 102 children; 55 are boys and 47 are girls. In 1973-1975 he served as a police sergeant in Wangkai and Mankien towns of Mayom County in Unity state. He joined Anya-nya II movement from 1976-1982 in Bilpam and was trained in Dire Dawa and Gondor towns in Ethiopia, after which he was commissioned as 2nd Lt. by the Anya-nya II movement.

After a disagreement in the formation of the SPLM/A involving his chairman, Gordon Koang Chol in 1983, Paulino Matip became the deputy chairman of the Anya-nya II under the chairmanship of Gordon Koang. Between 1987-1991 he became the chairman of Anya-nya II after Gen. Gordon Koang Chol rejoined the SPLM/A in 1988. In 1996 Gen. Matip joined the South Sudan Independence Movement/Army (SSIM/A).

In 1997 he formed his own organization called South Sudan United Movement (SSUM) and became its chairman and commander-in-chief. Between 2002 to 2004 he became the commander-in-chief of the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF); and in 2005 participated in the grand signing of the CPA in Nairobi, Kenya, and on his part led the South-South Dialogue with late Dr. John Garang de Mabior.

On January 8, 2006, he signed the famous Juba Declaration with the President of South Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. He was immediately promoted to the rank of Lt. General in the army and appointed the deputy commander-in-chief of the SPLA until his death on 22 August 2012.


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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 28 August 2012 07:06, by Mi diit

    Gen. Peter Gatdet. You are a courageous general like late Gen. Paulino Matip. Please follow his foot steps by maintaining the unity of the people in South Sudan. Work hard to keep the army united like national armies in other civilized countries.

    • 28 August 2012 07:07, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

      Theses people are really idiot, what is a meaning of calling clame ? Who killed Matip so that his people will protest?
      Didn’t they know that their leader was killed by non other than food?
      Please people stope being power Hungary

      • 28 August 2012 07:26, by Gäär

        Dinka Dominated Corruption,
        You are a fool to your core. I wish you die like your uncle. Dinka food lovers like you are a disgrace to wonderful South Sudanese people. Lt Gen Matip is an hero to South Sudanese who taught you foolish majority a good lesson. a real fighter will not quest Matip’s braveness. such a coward community.

        • 29 August 2012 15:04, by James Meccan

          what do you mean by saying dinka are food lovers?what made your fuck nuer always to rebel? isnt that dinka refuse to give them top seat? matip is hero but if this rebellion you nuer dont change then you are chating for nothing

      • 28 August 2012 07:27, by omoni jr.

        Dinka Dominated shit,
        Even your cowboys or girl president acknowledged that paulino Matip is very tough man militarily 51000 troop can overrun Juba within one minutes,and cowboy will be in exile in Ethiopia with his daughter .

        • 28 August 2012 07:45, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

          So you are Nuer in the names of equatorial,? Ahahaha our late hero was murdered by food and now we must f starting war with food, but I’m doubt the food will win the war since we are drived by food loving,

        • 28 August 2012 07:46, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

          So you are Nuer in the names of equatorial,? Ahahaha our late hero was murdered by food and now we must f starting war with food, but I’m doubt the food will win the war since we are drived by food loving,

        • 28 August 2012 08:47, by okucu pa lotinokwan

          Please when we do write,let us have respect to our leaders.
          or else we are out of our mind.

        • 28 August 2012 09:49, by panchol

          Omoni jr.
          please let us not talk nonsense that will not benefit us.
          it just God who plan for life and death.It shouldn’t be made as a blame.
          Paulino Struggle objectively for South Sudanese not for Bul Nuer of Mayom Unity State.

        • 28 August 2012 14:34, by Ayok

          To: Monoj ri
          Its very shameful to abuse President Kiir meanwhile you are his control, if he say I want not see Mr.Monojri what can do.
          shame on you

      • 28 August 2012 07:38, by Bolman

        Peter Must be Snd Cif whether Salva like or not there is no way to change the politcy or Country as well as when Garang Died Salva was replace rightaway if Dinka need the causse of war let them replace Paulino his place by Dinka don’t know what kind of birds will eats for two yrs infact Dinka will punish in hands of his brothers Nuer because they can’t fight Nuer by themselves at all never

      • 28 August 2012 11:01, by Lango2010

        Dinkadominated SPLA/M
        please i don’t like your comment always because you are the very person creating the division amongst the people of South Sudan, why don’t you hold tight your tongue. i have observed that every issue of RSS you always brand your examples with Nuer. let talk on personality not tribes
        the same messenge goes to you like.
        let behave like good citizen.

    • 28 August 2012 08:14, by viper

      Gadet should behave like a displined soldier. What let him call for a calm now when the death of Matip was a natural death? Who are those he is calling for calm? Matip family or his bodyguards? The forces that came with him are no longer his loyals now. They are national soldiers. If Gafdet use to dream at night of assuming the position of Matip, then his dreams are false dreams couz this position

      • 28 August 2012 08:21, by viper

        Is going to be abolised completely couz it was just meant for accomodating the late Matip. Any Nuer should not dream of replacing Matip as the deputy C-in-C. The post is a burden to our army and should be forgotten by now. Infact Matip is a man who use to abide by his word and should be respected for that. He is a man of principles and I salute him in his resting place as a soldier like him

        • 28 August 2012 18:34, by panom lualbil

          Just another stooge who was died with dream to ally with YAUYAU. Is nyagate important in nuer’s community to mourn for ???

  • 28 August 2012 07:06, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

    Theses people are really idiot, what is a meaning of calling clame ? Who killed Matip so that his people will protest?
    Didn’t they know that their leader was killed by non other than food?

    • 28 August 2012 07:28, by Bolman

      I do believed 100% this guy call Dominated there must something missing in his brian totally is not just a normal person do we totally don’t ve the mentalistic doctors in (SS) to curring him from his mentalisticmind disfunction don’t even know why they kept him in forum for long time. by disturbing the tention of innocences people who fight for (SS) unity he always talks on behalf of trible

  • 28 August 2012 07:14, by Jalaby

    I’ll tell you something that you may not know, Peter Gadet army people who were integrated in SPLA after SPLA fired many its fighters to satisfy Mr. Gadet and ends his rebellion, his fighters inside SPLA are very frustrated now because they didn’t get their salaries and not paid for long as Juba treasury is empty from money now due to oil production stoppage

    • 28 August 2012 07:25, by Jalaby

      most of SPLA fighters who were killed in Heglig during SPLA thoughtless decision of invading Heglig were Nuer fighters who belong to his group and left their families and kids behind them orphaned and Juba government failed to compensate them and left them homeless facing poverty, that’s another reason why they’re frustrated and Mr. Gadet asks them to stay calm!

      • 28 August 2012 07:32, by Atemdit

        Gadet do you want to die like your uncle and your brother Paulino? We shell dig your grave before you die. And i hope we have begin by digging your grave today and we shall put in all the malitias who belong to Nuer society.
        Unity state Oyee Mayom County Oyee.

      • 28 August 2012 07:34, by omoni jr.

        just shut up boy,you have three fronts line coming to torch that zoo called khartoum,and your fabricating lies here,
        There is no more division in south sudan.

      • 28 August 2012 07:35, by Jalaby

        Now Juba is bribing Mr. Gadet to keep his evilness calm but no money to pay for his militia inside SPLA as the oil production is still halt and the treasury is empty, there is no single doubt that his militia will rebel soon and become out of control if the situation continues like this as nobody can tolerate hunger for long!

        • 28 August 2012 07:54, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

          Jalapa just shut up we are mourning for our late hero who was murdered UN the struggle of our freedom for food slavary, food will never gonna murdered our hero, long live our hero

          • 28 August 2012 21:36, by Ruach

            Dinka amok!Paulino Matip Nhial is not dead.The man was born from specific family and his genetic character has not totally inherited from Nuer families.There is more continuation of the inheritance which will never cease untill the even and the earth comes to an end.Death to all Hater of the Hero and we will walk on them and hide them under our shoes

          • 1 September 2012 14:49, by Mohamed

            your hero was fighting against the SPLA since 1989 until 2005. its strange that this hasn’t even been mentioned by the author of the article. what lieing article.

        • 28 August 2012 07:55, by Hardball

          Jalaby, SPLA fought the war of liberation for 22 year without salaries from oil money, let me remain you if you don’t know that! It’s been only less than a year since the oil shutdown; we will wait for 21 more years for the oil to start running again! Just be patient little boy!

    • 28 August 2012 08:42, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      Jalaby what all you are after is only hatred to be among south sudanese,first the death of Gen paulino Matip Khartoum has its own hand on,why The General was already piosioned since by then, when he was still with Khartoum govt, every body know this and second to follow this Gen Matip is Lam Akol is even been poisioned by now,since he is now failing in excuting Khartoum govt Plan.

  • 28 August 2012 07:50, by Madina Tonj

    Amazing to hear that, late Paulino Matip Nhial Nyaak was marriages 47 wives and now left 102 children. I think the civilians in Unity State are really suffering because they hadn’t got 2% during six years as a result big Fish were they only benefits oil and the rest get nothing. What ownership the Son of Matip mean was the land he want to sold out but what about others Nuers?

  • 28 August 2012 07:58, by Jalaby

    As the south is overwhelmed by troubles now, I think it’s time for Khartoum to ask them for another $3bn compensation!
    The south is overwhelmed by troubles from all the directions now, fighting in Jonglei, insecure situation in Unity, Upper Nile, Warab, western Equatoria where LRA is in business, treasury is empty, no loaners,

    • 28 August 2012 08:12, by Jalaby

      The south is overwhelmed by troubles from all the directions now, fighting in Jonglei, insecure situation in Unity,Upper Nile,Warab,western Equatoria where LRA is in business,treasury is empty,no loaners, the rain and flood washed away people crops (oh my goodness even the sky is angry with those evils), many cities are isolated due to the flood,border with Sudan is closed

      • 28 August 2012 08:21, by Jalaby

        under the current circumstances,Khartoum is the only lifeline for the south,solely way out from this deadly situation,unless the 98% revenue oil production resumes and the border is opened these guys are gonna die!
        I think Khartoum needs to ask them for another extra $3bn for the damage they created by supporting SPLA-N gangsters!
        They will pay because they left with no choice!

        • 28 August 2012 09:04, by Chol A.

          Well Jalaby, since you have told us this in formation that we didn’t know about Peter Gatdat and his army. can you paid him to them help you against Juba?. please Jalaby ask yourself why are SPLA survivor in last 20 years? you have have all Sudan resources in more than decade and you suffering now in just few months when oil was shut down by Juba.

        • 28 August 2012 09:38, by Makavelli

          Why are you so obsess with SS compensations money? Do you really believe that all of your country’s financial troubles will be fulfilled by SS? but let me tell you this my friend a beggars doesn’t get too picky otherwise no one will spare them change. so for you to demand for more compensations is simply pure greed. but, I don’t blame you because that’s the way it’s in Khartoum.

    • 28 August 2012 08:25, by Hardball

      Jalaby, based on your posting, you sound clearly now desperate for cash! You need someone to remind you to calm down; stop. $ 3 billion compensation! You’re not getting the first $ 3 billion let alone the second. The antelope never scare the lion if that’s what you think you’re doing.

    • 28 August 2012 09:03, by Runrach

      Shut the fuck up son of whore ! Why are we compensating you what we done to you fake Arab ? How many physical, economic and civilian belongings destructions did you guys had and yet no single compensation paid. Unless we South Sudan are cought lossening you ageing mum virginity that’s when we shall pay that compensation.

    • 28 August 2012 11:12, by Lango2010

      i thought you have learn something during the shutdown of oil too. there is uprising almost in every city and villages, the finger you point to Suoth Sudan will soon be twist against you by revolutioneries. and if south would like intervene, this time will do it with close ears. to hell with your UNSC, UN & AU. unless your uncle bashir gave up the power will die hard.

  • 28 August 2012 08:04, by Akol Liai Mager

    "Kaang read the wills of his father before he died which included his request to the government to transfer the ownership of his government’s residence to his family and legalize the ownership". That is a very, very expensive will if it is really a will from the first place!!!

    • 28 August 2012 08:32, by viper

      Kaang is trying to say things that are not said by the late. What does mean for Paulino to beg only for a house from this country? If he just want to own the house, then he should make it as a request and not talk of having been told by his late father. Matip has so many houses and should not beg that residence alone. We know what to do to him in the grave and to his remaining kids.

  • 28 August 2012 08:58, by junub

    Hi there bravos.
    ever human being aganst Dinka will soon follow his or her colleague Palino Matip,deposit in mine that Dinka in south sudan should be revere by ever Dogs in south sudan.
    Yaka amook laguac week kooc wiic muonyjang yeeth.

    • 28 August 2012 09:51, by Dinkawarrior

      "Calls for calm"
      For what reason you calls for calm? You the reporter and Gatdet have problems in minds, there is no way for you guys to calls for calm while there high ranking members of the SPLA who can do so. Gatdet fail to captured alive or killed David Yauyau the Toilet, your job is to disciples those gangsters of the Toilet or Beer Community. Your no longer nyagat. But member of the SPLA

  • 28 August 2012 09:35, by Alfredo christiani

    Dear reader
    For those who thought prostitute Peter Gadet will replace position of late Matip be reminded that, you’re dreaming in broad day light, deputy commander in chief isn’t a position for Nuer but for any southerner who is qualified to do the Job ,let us very clear to each other . Nothing call our share or term this time, we needs those who will work hard and harder for the defenses of new

  • 28 August 2012 09:46, by Alfredo christiani

    nation and its peoples to benefits from abundant resources. death to thieves, Change itself will change everything in the new born nation ,it has started now and it will continues, i,m sure Obsess won’t leave any one who sack the blood of our comrades who died during arm struggle , death to thieves .

  • 28 August 2012 10:12, by markuonliel

    why am i only hearing of General Matip’s death and no other good achievement. what was is actual role in the struggle?

  • 28 August 2012 13:22, by thok chuni yok

    Gen.Peter Gatdet please go ahead we know you, you will be like paulino matip very soon.

  • 28 August 2012 13:39, by thok chuni yok

    Anti-traitors? you mean to said nyagaat at this time, ok if you mean to said nyagaat you will see what will happen to you in this month.

    • 28 August 2012 14:33, by Thorbanat

      You are such a punk. Who told you that South Sudan has no money? The reason why people are not paid is that the public service do not want Ministry of Finance to deduct house allowances, personal income tax and National Social Security Funds. Didn’t hard that International Monetary Funds and the World Bank is now ready to offer loan to South Sudan with zero interest rate for 5 years?

      • 28 August 2012 15:01, by Thorbanat

        Dear Readers,
        Generally, I respect Gen. Paulino Matip but I differ with his will. The will is should read what he want to divide to his 55 boys and 47 daughters but it WRONG for him to say the government should formalize the government house to him, no that is public (government) property which MUST never be owned by any body. What I can advise our government is to built a home for Paulino Matip

        • 28 August 2012 15:18, by Mi diit

          Building a new house for the huge family of Paulino Matip is more expensive than giving him the current old house he requested from the government.

    • 28 August 2012 14:34, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

      Witchcraft ahahaha you threaten Mr anti your father traitor
      He will not die for your threat boy,
      Go head anti traitors you are doing good stuff, educated them to know how nyagat ism is not good,

  • 28 August 2012 18:33, by Guandong

    Tnk u Lango 2010
    We are following thesame trail in our gov. w/n Garang died he was successed by his deputy, now thesame to Paulino will happen either by his son or deputy.On this issue I know Salva can work hard to recognise his late comrade by sucessed him accordingly. Salva has struggled for the unity of ss n he had achied it.

    • 28 August 2012 18:47, by panom lualbil

      Yeah, you must have to fight to achieve it, Mr. Salva did it. What do you think???

  • 28 August 2012 19:12, by Guandong

    The so-called Dinka dominated SPLM, is not atrue Dinka but some one else who want to spoil the name of Dinka publicly. Iam calling upon true Dinka who believe in one Unity of ss to trace him n punish him. I remember w/n Garang died we fought against Arab as whole not one person nor Bor bcoz he was our leader upto now that is why we do remember him yrly n no body condemn him to death.

  • 28 August 2012 19:25, by Guandong

    I finally calling upon all patriot southerners n youth, to not spent their time on insulting their own govenment as its ours currently n tommorrow.its not possible for our country to have one tribe it exist bcoz of all tribes n form one gov.of ss.let us not beat the drum of evil instead of good things,none to come n correct our mistake accept us. therefore, lets’ not act like foreign in our own ss

    • 29 August 2012 05:13, by Tiger

      you have said it right,the so called"Dinka Dominated spla"is just another confused fake Dinka,otherwise a true Dinka will not comment senselessly pretending being one of the Dinkas.if that’s the case for him to make fun of the dead hero Paulino Matip;who was born to live in this world 4ever,i guess no one,we loss some brave young men for the sake of our freedom to own this Country SS.

  • 28 August 2012 20:05, by ahme adam

    Paulino Matip enevr had diabetes type 1, so he cant die from it, its a big lie, SPLA killed MATIP, murderess SPLA need to be brought to Justice

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