Home | News    Monday 13 January 2014

Top S. Sudan army commander escapes assassination attempt: sources


January 12, 2014 (JUBA) - A top South Sudan army (SPLA) commander loyal to the central government has escaped an assassination attempt on his life, multiple military sources told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

South Sudanese army soldiers are seen guarding Malakal town, 497km (308 miles) northeast of capital Juba, December 30, 2013 (Photo Reuters/James Akena)

Gunmen reportedly attacked Lt. Gen. Johnson Gony Biliu’s convoy while he was conducting an assessment of the general security situation in areas around Upper Nile state capital. Malakal. Biliu is the commander of the SPLA’s sector II in Malakal.

According to sources, the incident occurred in an area between Anakdiar and Baliet county, some 54 kilometres east of Malakal town.

It remains unclear who masterminded the attack, and Sudan Tribune was unable to independently verify the claims as no official statement has been released from the office of the army spokesperson.

Calls by Sudan Tribune to the cell phone of the army’s spokesperson on Sunday were not returned.

Meanwhile, local officials claimed fighting had occurred in Doleib Hill, a former a mission station established by the American Inland Mission, located about 16kms south of Malakal town, on the northern bank of the Sobat River.

“Doleib Hill had fallen to the rebel control. The fighting between the two groups of soldiers divided over tribal allegiances and personal interests and connection broke out yesterday (Saturday) evening. It started at 9pm (local time) and stopped at around 10pm. It did not take long before it fell”, a government official told Sudan Tribune on Sunday from Malakal, adding that police and security forces had fled the area.

He also confirmed another attempt to take Baliet county by armed elements loyal to the former vice-president, Riek Machar.

“Our forces fought them today (Sunday) in Baliet. They attempted to advance but they were repulsed. Their intention is to overrun the area so that it becomes the opportunity for them to close the oil. This is where they are heading now, but I don’t think they will succeed. We have a huge force there and we are getting reinforcement tomorrow”, the official said.

In a separate interview with Sudan Tribune, Baliet county commissioner James Tor Monybuny confirmed that there have been several attempts by armed civilians from neighbouring counties - predominantly inhabited by the Nuer ethnic group - to take control of the area since Friday.

“There have been several attacks to create chaos in the area and harming the stability and national security of the country. There are people who do not value peace”, Monybuny said.

He claimed the group currently attempting to take control of the area has come from Nasir and the surrounding areas. Nasir is a known stronghold for hardline supporters of Machar and was the former deputy’s headquarters during the 1991 split.

Conflict erupted in South Sudan on 15 December after rival members of the Nuer and Dinka tribes in the presidential guards clashed in the capital, Juba.

President Salva Kiir, who hails from the Dinka tribe, has accused Machar, a Nuer, of orchestrating a coup attempt to overthow the government.

The violence has since spread throughout the country, including Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.


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  • 13 January 2014 07:37, by BM-21

    You People provoke the situation
    Lt.Gen Johnson Gony Biliu is loyal to the gov,t and remain as loyal to president Kiir @
    I am now with him ,he is loyal to gov,t.

    • 13 January 2014 08:07, by Majongdit

      Lt. Gen. Johnson Gony oyeeee!
      Governor Simon Kun oyeeeee!
      Simon Kun now owns Nassir, not Riek any longer. Kun has the same education as Riek but he is more popular than Riek. I know between Kun, Hoth or Marial one of them will get the Presidency when time come for us to choose from Upper Nile leaders.

    • 13 January 2014 09:11, by Bentiu son

      Dinka Rek thugs,don’t panic yet,Doliep Hills,Anakdiar,Baliet County,Adar Yel had already fallen into the hands of pro- democratic forces loyalties to Dr Machar Teny, it is a matter of time will shall capture Malakal as we did previously.The Nuer sellout Lt Gen Gony Biliew was killed in that ambush. We shall hunt Simon Kun to mark the end of Nuer traitors in Malakal.

      • 13 January 2014 10:39, by Mi diit

        Traitor Gen Gony Biliu is in the frontline in Malakal fighting for the dictator incompetent Kiir and yet he calls battles assassination attempts. How can you can an attack on your convoy as an assassination attempt while you are in a war field? You shame the Nuer by fighting for Kiir’s Dinka. Kiir has no fighters, only Nuers like you, Hoth, Bapiny and other traitors.

        • 13 January 2014 11:05, by Mi diit

          Ngundeng’s prophesy is surely coming true. He predicted this war and it has come. Kiir will die in this war he started as predicted by Ngundeng and Dr. Machar will soon become the president. Some Bor guys are playing cheap politics DOWN THERE, thinking they will ascend to power and remove both Kiir and Riek. Don’t waste your time guys. By February Riek will be the president.

          • 13 January 2014 11:22, by Hardlinner

            Mi diit, prophecies are elements of primitivity and lack of reasoning. The universe does not permit the existent of such primitive perception. In fact any thing supernatural is only meanful to people with low IQ. The element of truth work against riek becoming president. If riek believe in ngundeng fictitious prophecies, then he is lost. I wonder how a man with PHD still behave like primitive?.

            • 13 January 2014 16:09, by barbayo

              Riak Machar was injured seriousely in the island by gunship this afternoon around 6:5pm it may kill him this injure

          • 13 January 2014 11:33, by Hardlinner

            Riek must be told that he can not force himself to presidency. He can only become nuer president through his primitve method of violent. Otherwise I’m afraid he will never become president through rebellion.in addition to that his believe in childish prophecies of ngundeng make him sound like primitive.His PHD of primitive make him fit for ruling nuers that think like him.

          • 13 January 2014 19:45, by George Bol

            You have said before December ,while now you said February
            Ngundeng will take nuer to hell. You did not cry yet naath!

          • 14 January 2014 00:37, by Bak Akec

            You said in December that Kiir will be dead by Friday!!!
            Face it Mi Diit, Riek doesn’t know any military skills. The fact the he was able to control 3 states is because there are many defectors who turn on their own troops. Kiir has been in the military for years and will win.

      • 13 January 2014 15:23, by Realist

        One tribe can not rule all S. Sudan. Forces loyal to Riek are all Nuer and they are not pro-democratic. You guys need to sit down for peace talk. You can’t win this war. Even if you win it, you will not be accepted by the majority of S. Sudanese. Free elections is the the only way to win.

      • 13 January 2014 15:24, by Realist

        One tribe can not rule all S. Sudan. Forces loyal to Riek are all Nuer and they are not pro-democratic. You guys need to sit down for peace talk. You can’t win this war. Even if you win it, you will not be accepted by the majority of S. Sudanese. Free elections is the the only way to win.

  • 13 January 2014 07:41, by Rommel

    The myopic ’leadership’ in Juba is not treating this situation with the gravitas that it deserves. They must mobilise at least a 100, 000 troops in Bahr el Ghazal, and train them in how to handle themselves in ambush scenarios; the armed forces should rent -or better yet, purchase- Heron and Eitan UAVs to surveil Greater Upper Nile, interdict rebel supplies and liquidate their commanders.

    • 13 January 2014 07:51, by Rommel

      Nations like Belarus have plenty of SU-25 fighter-bombers in storage, waiting to be purchased for around $5 million each; they would, of course, have to be retrofitted with new targeting pods like the Advanced Multi-sensor Payload System or the Litening G4 Pod. These aircraft would also need new radars like the Gabbiano T200.

      • 13 January 2014 07:55, by Rommel

        And since I don’t trust Khartoum’s assurances that it will not provide rebels with weapons, ammunition, supplies and logistical support, we need UAVs more than ever. Generals and frontline commanders should be given equipment and tools to prevent their forces from being ambushed.

        • 13 January 2014 08:03, by Rommel

          There are hand-held thermal devices that allow commanders to observe vehicles 20km away and enemy troop movements as far as 8km, no matter how well camouflaged they are — upon which they can then be engaged with artillery and mortars, and this is important because artillery accounts for 80% of battlefield casualties. Our troops also need communication systems and tactical data links.

          • 13 January 2014 09:35, by Deng II

            Good suggestion, but do u think in our current Government, do they have people like u who can thinks critically beyond the beer and whisky to programming that very important idea? I doubt. If we still doesn’t have those things since we experienced the war for 21 years, then we are in really trouble. We suppose to desperate required those things since we knew war BWT N and S is inevitable.

            • 13 January 2014 09:46, by Deng II

              - On the other hands, we should have the will to fight, thinking that u put army uniform as an anointing for death.
              U offer yourself to die. but if you run way with gun and being shut at the back, then there is no need to posses that skillful materials that need cool heart and brave mind to operate it.Cowards cannot able to take a good aim to shut.

              • 13 January 2014 09:59, by Deng II

                - Bor still in the hand of "White Army", why? because there is no will to fight, not in fact, there is no tools to fight, specially we being support by helicopter gunship. helicopter gunship can be very dangerous with those people like White Army.

            • 13 January 2014 09:54, by Rommel

              Deng II:
              I thank you for your kind words, dear brother. I have come to the conclusion that military command has very little to no regard for our troops, otherwise they would have purchased a lethal and comprehensive air defence system like the S-300PMU2 to protect our airspace.

              • 13 January 2014 10:00, by Rommel

                If we had Eitan UAVs we would be able to fly them from Juba to Longochuk, on the border with Sudan; no supplies would reach the rebels, from anywhere. And we would be able to destroy their supply lines to Bor. But all in all, measured bravery, discipline, training and sheer will power are the most important ingredients to victory.

                • 13 January 2014 10:20, by 4Justice

                  Are you talking to me Rommel?

                  I am just a donkey who likes to ride in a Mercedes-Benz!

          • 13 January 2014 12:02, by Hardlinner

            I like I said rommel, kiir only pick military advisors that only knew ak47 as their 21 century weapons. These primitives do not understand the effectiveness of really 21 century military equipments. If they had jets with precision guiding system, they would have had upper hand in quilting the rebellion within one week by targetting the masterminds of the rebellion.

          • 13 January 2014 21:37, by Peacocktail

            Thank you brother Rommel,
            We have taken note of your argument and this must be proper utilized to ensure unnecessary rebellion is quilled down with real pressure.. keep advising your government for your people.
            Bravo brother, RSS oyee

      • 13 January 2014 11:44, by Hardlinner

        Rommel, people with modern military knowledge like yourself and myself included don’t have say or power in kiir government. Kiir is so primitive tbat is why he always goes against modernizing spla. If he had had the equipments you have mensioned, i believe no rebels would have attemp to rebelled. Kiir can’t even buy basic equipments such as helmets and bulletproof.

        • 13 January 2014 16:20, by Rommel

          The entire leadership is beyond pitiful. Soldiers are needlessly dying because of their incompetence, short-sightedness, inertia and stupidity. This pathetic leadership is lucky that soldiers that don’t get paid for months on end... are fighting and dying for them.

  • 13 January 2014 07:44, by Bol Pur

    a innocent South Sudanese could ask this simple question to those who are supporting tribal conflict. Can there be South Sudan without Nuer or Dinka? Does South Sudan belong to Dinka or Nuer? For those who are writing supporting Kiir in tribal base to kill Nuer in name of rebel, is Kiir Dinka president? To those who are supporting Machar and base argument in being A Nuer does Machar lead only Nue

    • 13 January 2014 07:47, by Bol Pur

      I think if you are South Sudanese truly just call for peace and do not support tribal killing. Nuer and Dinka are South Sudanese and they must live together. If you are a Dinka and you Support Kiir don’t talk of Dinka. If you are a Nuer and you support Machar don’t talk of Nuer. There are Nuer with Kiir and there are Dinka with Machar what will you do to those if you speak at tribal aligns?

      • 13 January 2014 08:04, by jijury

        Rommel, stop that wishful thinking what matter in this war is not how many civilians you mobilized to fight, but rather if they have reason to fight. the Nuer who are fighting now do so because the one they voted for Salva has turned his back on them and killed their relatives in cold blood. that’s why they are fighting and defeating those countless SPLA Forces.

        • 13 January 2014 08:12, by Majongdit

          You should as well stop that wishful thinking that you can unseat a democratically elected govt by force.
          Riek and his group cannot and will never win either through the gun’s barrels or ballots.
          After this war, Riek will come and sit down as Riek again with his usual smile and nothing more...just nothing more!

        • 13 January 2014 08:15, by Rommel

          I’m sorry but I know about Ngundeng’s apparent ’prophesy’; a ’prophesy’ that speaks about the ascension and leadership of a left-handed, gapped tooth Nuer messiah, and this is why they murdered thousands of civilians in Duk, Twic-east, Bor, Canal Khorfulus, Pariang and Abiemmnom.

          • 13 January 2014 08:31, by Rommel

            The massacre was not the end of the tragedy in Bor, however. An estimated 100, 000 people fled the area following the attack, and after many of the villages had been burnt to the ground. According to Amnesty International, famine brought about by looting and the destruction of crops and livestock killed a further 25, 000 people, many of them children. ( South Sudan, Max Lovell-Hoare)

            • 13 January 2014 08:36, by Rommel

              This is what Riek said to a journalist-historian in the wake of the 1991 split:
              He discounted tribalism as “from a different age”, though boasted that he has “not seen a Nuer who doesn’t support me.” In the same breath, he added, “if there is a tribal element, the Nuer would destroy all the Dinka.” (Me Against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda, Scott Peterson)

              • 13 January 2014 08:41, by Rommel

                According to Amnesty International, Riek caused the deaths of close to 30, 000 of our civilians and yet the vast majority of your people support him for Executive position! How can anyone possibly support a man responsible for the deaths of close to 30, 000 civilians!? We too have a reason to fight. The wounds of the past have not healed.

                • 13 January 2014 08:52, by Rommel

                  We will continue to fight in order to prevent Riek from reaching Executive position, because we will not be governed by such a man... And we will certainly not deliver ourselves unto such humiliating abjection. I don’t want our battered, bruised and terribly traumatised young country to be again mauled by the dogs of war, but we simply cannot accept Riek.

    • 13 January 2014 10:22, by Bungachier 50

      Brother Bol Pur,
      Your questions are so touching, sensible and futuristic in nature. My worry is that our leaders don’t come to the Media and get such appealing questions and requests. "One hand can not clap itself". Today, if all the Nuers/Dinkas are killed all, we will be missing something up to the end of our lives on this Earth.

      • 13 January 2014 11:02, by Mi diit

        Ngundeng’s prophesy is surely coming true. He predicted this war and it has come. Kiir will die in this war he started as predicted by Ngundeng and Dr. Machar will soon become the president. Some Bor guys are playing cheap politics, thinking they will ascend to power and remove both Kiir and Riek. Don’t waste your time guys. Riek is the one and no one else. By February Riek will be the president.

        • 13 January 2014 11:43, by dinkdong

          You are full of crap man. To hell with Ngandeng prophecies.

  • 13 January 2014 08:12, by Tutbol

    SUDANTRIBUNE as usual is deleting comments that point out the West evil hands in fomenting wars on peoples that do not want their INTRIGUES. S Sudan would be the last country on earth to be INTRIGUED by the evils in France, the US & the UK. You have rattled the wrong peoples. You have been reminded time & time again to keep your *White people evil games to your West Africans*

    • 13 January 2014 08:18, by Tutbol

      and Central Africans that buy the White men evil games. But in the Nilotic Sudan, forget about it. No one wants the Europeans and US intrigues in our country. You kill our people with your Riek Machar who dabbles in superstition & our people will not forgive the Europeans & evils in the US for that.

  • 13 January 2014 08:20, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    Gen. Johnson Gony Biliu met an attacked with the force of Makar Kuol who due to surrended in Helig during friday when the war in Bentiu broke them up into pices. James Koang is there in the Nile with numbers of SPLA going to Ayod, i hope James will finished there,
    in-fact, Makar Kuol will destabilize the area of Malakal town particularily because he was about to be disarmed by SAF, he refused and

  • 13 January 2014 08:42, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    Cont. Brigdier Gen. Makar Kuol who was surrended in Helig for his safty is back to South Sudan and he is threatening the state. Johnson Uliny is pursing the James Koang with 2,000 SPLA troops in Ayod, may be in two three days from now he will be call back for insecurity in Malakal. Santino Deng Wuol, Wuol is finished there with rebels apperantely the area is now saft in Bentiu town.

    • 13 January 2014 09:08, by Bentiu son

      Dinka Rek thugs,don’t panic yet,Doliep Hills,Anakdiar,Baliet County,Adar Yel had already fallen into the hands of pro- democratic forces loyalties to Dr Machar Teny, it is a matter of time will shall capture Malakal as we did previously.The Nuer sellout Lt Gen Gony Biliew was killed in that ambush. We shall hunt Simon Kun to mark the end of Nuer traitors in Malakal.

  • 13 January 2014 08:52, by jijury

    Rommel, Salva Kiir is a dead man walking these two months will not end without him being capture or kill. his days are numbers it’s just a matter of time.

  • 13 January 2014 09:41, by lakoda

    If LtG.Johnson Gony is still alive let him talk so we will no he escape. What i know is dead since yesterday ambush. Dr. machar Oyeee

    • 13 January 2014 10:34, by Malakal county Simon

      R.I.P traitor Gen. Gony Billieu and Kuol Manyang, and i hope more traitors will follow you soon, people’s like Gathoth Mai and the rests!!!!

      • 13 January 2014 11:09, by Mi diit


        • 13 January 2014 15:55, by Rommel

          Mi diit:
          And what, I suppose you think that it was your youth [Arab allies] that fought Khartoum all those years!? LOL! I shouldn’t even be giving you the time of day, because the people of Bahr el Ghazal provided infinitely more battalions, more divisions and more martyrs than you ever have — so keep your little delusions to yourself.

  • 13 January 2014 16:59, by Mapuor

    There is no any justificatication for the change of leadership completely. The six reasons that Mr traitor gave cannot convince any rational being. The citizenry know very well Mr Riek and the disgruntled group were the most corrupt people in the government. Leadership should therefore remain in greater B G,for twenty one years, then rotate to Equatoria for another 21 years after which people

    • 13 January 2014 17:03, by Mapuor

      sit and design a new way of sharing the power between the three regions.Power stayed in Upper Nile for twenty one years,it must do the same in the other two regions come what may.Any Satan who rejects this fairness should leave the country.

  • 29 January 2014 16:34, by Zeki

    Though Riek Machar toke all states and Juba city, Riek Machar will never ever rule this Country South Sudan. It is not because being Nuer, but for his nature.

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