Governor Adil welcomes NAS generals in latest defection

Governor Adil welcomes NAS generals in latest defection
Governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil Anthony. [File photo]

Over four army generals of the National Salvation Front (NAS) under Gen. Thomas Cirilo have shifted allegiance to President Salva Kiir’s camp. Over 200 soldiers have also defected from the group.

While receiving the group at the State Secretariat on Monday in Juba, Central Equatoria State governor Emmanuel Adil Anthony described the move as a “bold,” “decisive,” and “positive” step towards the realisation of peace and stability in the country and particularly in the state.

“In conformity with President Kiir’s resolve to end the senseless war, I welcome you who have decided to abandon rebellion and choose the course of peace and stability,” Governor Adil said.

He reiterated his government’s efforts to re-engage and provide a forum for those still carrying up arms against the government to denounce violence and join the revitalised government.

For his part, Maj. Gen. Martin Batali Sebit, the group leader, accused their former boss, Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka, of failing to show true leadership qualities in how they ran the party’s affairs, especially in building the young, capable, and energetic youth to prepare them for a better future generation.

He said instead of uniting his members from the diverse communities of South Sudan, the party leader had turned the party into a distraction from people’s lives.

Call for peace

Gen. Batali lauded the heartfelt reception accorded to them by both the military and political wings of the government and, appealed to those still carrying up arms against the government to voluntarily denounce violence and join the government without hesitation as the country returns to its lively glory.

The group was received by Central Equatoria State Security Advisor, Angelo Deyo, Wayi Godwil Edward, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Gerald Francis Nyukuye, Minister of Peace Building, and Andruga Mabe Saverino, the Minister of Information and Communication.

This marked the second blow to Gen. Cirilo in less than four months.

On January 28, an estimated 1,500 NAS forces headed by Lt Gen Richard Lokole Loteka dumped Gen. Cirilo’s camp and joined the former Army leader, Gen. Paul Malong Awan.

NAS has been blamed for causing insecurity, especially in Central Equatoria State, causing massive displacement in Lainya. Morobo and villages around Yei River County.

The peace negotiations between the government and the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA), of which NAS is part; are yet to resume.

Efforts to reach the army spokesperson for the confirmation were not immediately successful as his phone was unreachable.

The forces switched their full allegiance to the government under the leadership of President Kiir, citing the urgent need to put an end to the untold suffering of the people in Central Equatoria State in particular and South Sudan in general.

They also cited a lack of clear vision by NAS coupled with tendencies of tribalism and nepotism in the ranks and file of the National Salvation Front (NAS).

According to the document dated April 19, 2022, the NAS Commander of Military Operation in Central Equatoria State, Maj. Gen. Martin Batali Sebit, accused Gen. Cirilo of five counts, among them a lack of vision, corruption, and nepotism.

“We, the officers of the National Salvation Front (NAS), led by Maj. Gen. Martin Sebit Batali, the Commander of Military Operations for the Central Equatoria State Sector, with 200 troops based in Yei River County of Morobo, Lasu, and Senimo Payams areas, are writing to express our gratitude.

“Have decided wholeheartedly to join the government of South Sudan under H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, in the request for peace and stability in our beloved country, such that together we can usher in the realisation of development for our citizens and bring the suffering of our people to an end,” partly read the statement.

The generals that defected to the government include Maj.Gen.Martin Batali Sebit, the head of the group, Brig.Gen.David Malish, Brig.Gen.Peter Walter, Brig.Gen. James Benjamin, and Col. Agele Emmanuel.