Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 10 December 2014

The case of Equatorian rebellion in South Sudan conflict


By Steve Paterno

December 10, 2014 - The current ongoing conflict in South Sudan for the most part has taken a tribal turn, pitting Dinkas against Nuers, with the rebel fighters made up of exclusively Nuers. However, of recent, in an effort to lure Equatorians into rebel ranks, rumours are abound that several generals who hail from Equatoria region have been defecting. Among the rumours is that a decorated Gen. Thomas Cirilo had defected, the news which turned out to be a mere lies meant to boost the morale of the rebels. Another rumour is that Gen. Martin Kenyi joined the ranks of rebellion, which might eventually change the dynamics of the conflict if it turns out to be true.

For starters, Gen. Martin Kenyi has a long history of defection. Joining SPLA/M in 1980s, Kenyi rose to the rank of a captain, serving as adjutant to Cdr. William Nyoun, the then chief of staff and deputy chair of SPLM/A. By 1992, Kenyi defected along Nyoun, joining the forces of Riek Machar, under Khartoum’s sponsorship.

Before long, Kenyi fell off with his boss, Cdr. William Nyoun. Several incidents triggered the fallout. Under intense suspicion, Kenyi’s Equatorian colleagues were attacked by their Nuers counterparts, resulting into ultimate death of Cdr. Rose Ezbon and injuring of Cdr. Aziz Atari Aziz. According to Martin Kenyi, a hit was also ordered against him by his boss Cdr. William Nyoun.

Therefore, Kenyi had to literally escape from the clap of his Nuers handlers. Kenyi went on to forming Equatorian Defence Force (EDF), with aim of protecting the interest of Equatorians. The EDF thrived under the sponsorship of Khartoum regime until 2003, when the outfit rejoined SPLA/M.

Now, with rumours of Kenyi’s defection, many questions can be asked. The answers of which will determine the course of future of this conflict. For example, will Kenyi join his former militia boss, Riek Machar or he will run an exclusive Equatorian rebellion, such as he did with EDF? How successful will he be in recruiting Equatorans into a fight, a feat that the current rebellion failed thus far? Will he open another front in Equatoria region? How much support will he receive, particularly from neighbouring countries?

Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at stevepaterno@yahoo.com

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  • 10 December 2014 05:06, by Mi diit

    Steve Paterno,

    You are such a typical passive and coward Equatorian. Submitting yourself to oppression and slavery is not peacefulness, it is cowardice!!! God loves freedom fighters who fight for their God-given rights. Gen Martin Kenyi is your savior in Equatoria. Shame on you for licking Dinka asses!!!

    • 10 December 2014 13:45, by Redeemer

      Mi Diit
      Being a warmonger doesn’t mean braveness. Fighting means killing because you fight to kill. You are using khartoum’s strategy that you copied during your first rebellion of 1991. Equatorians will fight but not that war of power

      • 10 December 2014 13:53, by Redeemer

        God is not God of killing but God of love. You know nothing about God but Ngundeng. Anything connected with devil is realized after total darkness which will be too late to say I was wrong.

        • 10 December 2014 15:36, by Mi diit


          You don’t know the Bible and God. God is a God of both war and peace. He loves freedom fighters and defenders. He told Joshua in the Bible to attack the city of Jericho, etc. God will destroy the world with fire, right? That is war by itself. Ahahaha... Submission to oppression is cowardice not peacefulness. Equatorians must defend their dignity from the Dinka to avoid being slaves...

    • 12 December 2014 09:47, by Freedom Fighter

      Firstly, the article offers critical analysis and subtle advices to Equatorians who may be considering madness.

      Second, Nuer militias are no freedom fighters but long term enemies of freedom and civility.

      I disagree with Steve’s description of the war as between Dinkas and Nuers. It is between South Sudan Army and Nuer militias. Dinka as Community hasn’t yet decided to fight Nuer Community

  • 10 December 2014 18:42, by Kim Deng

    The Equartorians (Nyam-Nyam) have three choices, form their own movement and fight for their rights against Dinka Kingdom, join the Mighty Nuer Warriors (MNW), or remain second class citizens in this Jungle (South Sudan). But it seems they have already chosen the last choice.

  • 10 December 2014 20:08, by Ambago

    While every single thing here seems to emanate from a rumour box, one doesn’t see any obliging duty to start arguing out how things are going to play out in the near or far future.We are better back to the real world for no fantasy has ever shaped the fate of a nation nor will it do so this time around!

  • 12 December 2014 06:31, by Mi diit


    I want to inform friends and enemies alike that I will stop commenting on Sudan Tribune from 15 December in commemoration of the Juba massacre until Salvatore Kiir Mayardit is NO longer the president of South Sudan. Don’t be surprised when you don’t read me from 15 December!

  • 12 December 2014 07:34, by LL Reuben

    Mi diit:

    Congratulations on the revelation you’re finally coming to your sense. After all what is left there for you to say when the writing on the wall is crystal clear. Your belligerent fools along with their drug-addict leader (Traitor Riek Machar) have been thorough defeated to humiliating extent. Run and never come back!! - we want young few Nuer who are still alive to continue on living.

    • 12 December 2014 09:57, by Big Boy

      Dear Mi Diit
      The stupidity of some of these comments are beyond belief - talk about dumbed down food-lover leavers in Juba and stay away at the jongle ! PlS try understand the story of crisis in Juba 15-Dec-14 before blaming the Dinka’s, or even Kiir (nothing to do with either)ur traiter have been defeated numerous times since 91 upto date.

      • 12 December 2014 10:02, by Big Boy

        Cont, Freedom fighter
        i agree with you sir! Dinka are not yet started the war with Nuer. as i am now waiting for the final decisons if they accepted or war? we are ready this time no jok around the bullshet? and you Equa, you are scrutch this wounded but you don’t have salt to samre on your wounded later when it happened in Juba or elsewhere RSS.? if alone food-lover Nuer!!

  • 14 December 2014 16:05, by Eastern

    This must be clear to all and sandry that resisting facist regime is not the preserve of Upoer Nile only. Kiir’s leadership style is wanting and therefore calls for resistance.

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