Get out of the bush, Santino tells holdout groups
The Chief of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), Gen. Santino Deng Wol, challenged holdout groups to “come out of the bush” and join hands with the rest of the leaders in nation building.
Addressing the military during his visit to Division 6 army headquarters in Maridi County, Western Equatoria State, Santino said it was needless for the holdout groups to stay in the bush opposing the government while the fight for independence had been achieved, pending the implementation of the peace agreement.
“As you can see, the first Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, is in Juba. Angelina Teny was also in the bush with you, but after coming back, she has served as the minister of defence and is currently the minister of interior,” he said on Friday.
“We have peace, and we are in one system of government implementing peace that can give freedom to our civilians in the country”.
Santino reminisced about the time of liberation, saying that from 1983–2005, the SPLA was in the bush fighting the Arabs in order to give freedom of expression to the civilians of South Sudan, and no one picked arms to destroy his or her own family. He said this in reference to the occasional clashes between the SSPDF and the rebel forces in parts of Equatoria, saying South Sudanese should stop fighting one another.
“Let no tribe claim to be the freedom fighters of these country; we all fought together as South Sudanese, not as tribe, and we need to work as well together and build ourselves in order to bring peace into this country,” he said.
“If we come together, no one will separate us and our civilians will be protected, and this will allow them to live in peace and send their children to school, and have access to all their basic needs across the country”.
He revealed that soon they would deploy the unified forces across the country, and every soldier should be ready to work everywhere in South Sudan and provide protection to all South Sudanese, regardless of their tribes.
The SSPDF boss told the army to stay out of politics and tribalism and stick to its mandate of protecting the country’s sovereignty.
“The men and women in uniform should to abstain from politics and only protect the country and its property,” he said.
He also told the military to shun tribalism and embrace the spirit of the liberation struggle when South Sudanese fought as one people for their freedom.
“We want every soldier not to engage in politics because soldiers don’t belong to political parties,” Gen. Deng said.