Home | News    Sunday 30 July 2017

Thousands of Machar-led fighters "defect" to new rebel group


July 29, 2017 (KAMPALA) - At least 20,000 rebel troops loyal to South Sudan’s Former First Vice-President, Riek Machar have allegedly declared allegiance to the National Salvation Front (NASA), led by ex-South Sudan army’s deputy chief of logistics, Gen. Cirilo Swaka.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka, the ex-SPLA deputy chief of general staff for training (youtube photo)

In a statement, Lt. Gen. John Kenyi Loburon, the overall commander of the Central Equatoria command of armed opposition movement faction (SPLM-IO) said his group had sealed links with the Machar-led rebel faction.

It remains unclear as to how many rebels could have defected, although Loburon put the figure at 20,000 in Equatoria region alone.

He cited divisions in the armed opposition faction soon after Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict of South Sudan (ARCSS), which allegedly created political differences in the ruling party.

“Despite continuous solidarity of my forces with SPLM-IO before and after the signing of ACRSS agreement in August 2015, the SPLM-IO leadership intentionally neglected our forces and only polluted us with the unnecessary and random promotion of officers,” said Loburon.

“For the above reasons and others too numerous to enumerate; I, along with my entire forces have decided to join the National Salvation Front (NAS) under the Leadership of Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka,” he added.

According to Swaka, NAS has shown a clear and bright path with a political road map for the restoration of the unity of the people.

“Known to many, Gen. Cirillo demonstrated his dedication and commitment to the cause of human dignity and freedom throughout the time of the liberation of South Sudan which resulted in the independence of South Sudan in 2011. But also unknown to many, Gen. Cirillo ever since has taken the risk to his life by providing us with logistics support, and tactical guidance when he was inside the country,” he said.

Sudan Tribune could, however, not confirm the rebels’ claims on the alleged defection.


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  • 30 July 2017 12:09, by Eastern

    20,000 armed people"pursuing a common course" ....How effective is isolating Dr. Machar in South Africa. In the Bible, Jesus told his followers that if he was forced to keep quiet, the stones will shout out...…39But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!” 40“I tell you, He answered, “if they remain silent, the very stones will cry out..Luke 19:40....

    • 30 July 2017 14:29, by South South


      You are telling us very old stupid stories which can not work in 2017. Machar has no soldiers, that why a few them ran away from Pagak, let alone 20000 to be in Equatoria. The big coward and thief called Thomas Cirrillo is hiding in Addis Abba in a hotel, do you know why? He is afraid of his life. Do you know that Thomas Cirrillo stone SPLA money and then ran away.

      • 30 July 2017 18:09, by Eastern

        South South,

        I know very well why I am sending out this mesage now!! Why is Juba bothered any way? Dr. Machar is isolated in distant south Africa, why are you bothered, faint-hearted man?

      • 30 July 2017 18:11, by jubaone

        South South,
        How can jienge bandits accuse Thomas Cirillo for theft? So jienges simply misappropriate state money as if it belongs to them without a guilty conscience? Take out that log from your Jienge eyes b4 you take out that speck from your brother’s eye. Jienge bandits and benydits should simply shut up their toothless mouths.

        • 30 July 2017 19:03, by jubaone

          Riak is having trouble and if his Equatorian supporters are joining NAS, this should be seen as a blessing and not as a threat. I strongly believe, once Equatoria consolidates itself militarily, things will work out well. Riak and Cirillo both support federalism and that is important.

  • 30 July 2017 12:41, by Eastern

    20,000 still focusing theirnattacks on Kir after Dr. Machar is cornered is a PLUS. Anybody is free to attack Kiir and cohort: in Juba, along the high ways, etc...

    • 30 July 2017 18:16, by jubaone

      20,000 more or less who have joined NAS is a blessing and won’t change the strategy of flushing out jienges from Equatoria. Cirillo needs our support just as Riak needs our support to kill the monsters in Juba. Our ultimate goal is evicting jienge squatters and vagabonds out of Equatoria sooner or later.

  • 30 July 2017 13:05, by Dinka-Defender-General

    Ah, that’s a huge lie. Machar doesn’t have 20,000 soldiers anywhere in South Sudan. Where were the 20,000 soldiers hidden? To tell you the truth, Machar has 8,000 to 9,000 soldiers operating in South Sudan. This is fact. Therefore, stop celebrate Earthern.

    • 30 July 2017 14:04, by Eyez

      Wise decision, Kiir’s stooges and JCE believers can say what they want, as for Machar’s supporters, we in Equatoria don’t have any problems with you and our goals are the same, but it’s time for our people to stand behind our very own son, as the Shulluk and the Murle are doing.

      Long live Gen. Cirilo, long Gen. Kenyi loburan, long live Gen. Abraham Wana and long live NAS.

      • 30 July 2017 15:35, by Malakal county Simon

        It’s ok any where in the world to have as many armed factions as long as they have goal and one enemy unwanted president Kiir must be ousted for peace to return!!!!

    • 30 July 2017 18:06, by Eastern

      Stupid!!! You even have failed to know that I am EASTERN not what you wrote...

  • 31 July 2017 00:07, by Kush Natives

    Folks, worry less about this stupid calculation, a number doesn’t fight, only vision can. If the numbers does, then Bashir would have rounded up the SPLA from day one in the Sudanese civil wars. I myself wouldn’t worry about 20,000 rebels. SPLA/ government have ***210,000***+ fully trained. Just an infantry.

    • 31 July 2017 00:14, by Kush Natives

      For those who have an ideology of cleaning **Jieeng** out of Equatorian territories, I consider that as a nightmare dreams. Uganda will be overwhelmed by refugees. If that’s the war that Thomas Cirilo is organizing, then forget about him! We, the SPLA rescued him 1992-93 around Juba, where by most of Cmde got rapped by Arab.

      • 31 July 2017 00:23, by Kush Natives

        Thomas Cirilo know better, that w/o Jieeng in South Sudan, then would have been a farming land long ago. Thomas Cirilo will remain an international criminal as well as Riek Machar, no doubt. We, the SPLA will not rest till our children are freed from Equatorian vs Nuer hatred and devil wishful thinking. President Salva Kiir is the one to be blamed, because he

        • 31 July 2017 00:30, by Kush Natives

          Con_ is the one promoting all this, by betraying patriot Cmde and appeasing those who against South Sudanese people. This is the right time for South Sudan to be a Democratic republic, we have sometime to go. Let’s all see in our own eye, when President Salva Kiir leave power. All rebels will decide whether to surrender to us or hang themselves in the jungles.

          • 31 July 2017 00:32, by Kush Natives

            Correction: this is not the right time for South Sudan to be a Democratic republic or state!

  • 31 July 2017 11:42, by Dak South

    I wonder how people who are uprising tribalism talk of peace to come to the country while they are praising for more war to happen in South Sudan, if you guys can read your comments they are not for peace but for hatred and base on tribal lines if that what you think will bring back peace then i think there will be no peace as you talk of it, Each one of you know how the people are crying for peac

  • 31 July 2017 15:16, by Raan

    I do agreed with many who predicted Dr. Riek Machar’s SPLM/A-IO that it will end up like 1991. Its true that the history has actually repeated itself. Every tribes will definitely follows his/her tribe mate and that is because of the failure of Dr. Riek Machar. Now Eastern Nuer are killing themselves due to many people defection from him because of his poor management. Lets God save South Sudan.

    • 31 July 2017 16:30, by Redeemer

      Equatorians have taken Nuer politics of defection here and there without making any achievement just following where your tribe mate is a leader

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