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Lt Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics Resignation Letter

SUDAN  PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY

SPLM

GENERAL HEADQUARTERS
Office of the Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics

Our  Ref: ………………..

 

President  Salva Kiir Mayardit,
President  of the Republic  of  South  Sudan,
Commander-in-Chief, Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army, Juba,  South Sudan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Date: 11/02/ 2017

I, Lt Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics, Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) hereby tender my resignation as the Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics, and from the   SPLA.
It has been my honor and privilege to have served the people of South Sudan during the liberation struggle and during the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which led to the conduct of referendum on self-determination and attainment of independence of South Sudan. I  am proud to have been part of the Liberation struggle and  generally  in  having served the people of South Sudan in numerous military and  political  assignments over the last three   decades.
I am resigning from the position of Deputy Chief of  Staff for Logistics  and from the SPLA because  of the following  reasons:
1. I am convinced that the violence which erupted in Juba in December, 2013, and swiftly spread to several parts of South Sudan, in due course becoming     a devastating war was planned and orchestrated by design. This tribally engineered war resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent lives and the displacement of at least two million people, mainly  innocent  civilians, women and children who are currently living in miserable conditions  either as internally displaced persons (IDPs), virtually prisoners in the UN camps,  or as refugees.
In August 2015, after almost two years of civil war and suffering of people of South Sudan, the warring parties signed a  peace  agreement  – The  Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) – brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). ARCISS gave hope to our suffering people that peace had come. Unfortunately, again the Government of the Republic of South Sudan deliberately  orchestrated  planned  violations  of the peace Agreement  which  led  to fighting in Juba in

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July, 2016, the total collapse of the Agreement and resumption of war in the country.

2. I am dissatisfied and have lost  patience  with  the  conduct  of  the  President  and Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C), the  Chief  of  Staff  and  other  senior officers in the HQS of the SPLA as well  as Unit  Commanders.  The President and these  SPLA  officers  have  systematically  frustrated  the  implementations of the peace agreement and pursued the agenda of  Jieng  Council  of  Elders (JCE) of ethnic cleansing, forceful displacement of people from the their ancestral lands and ethnic  domination .  (Even  though)  I  for  one  have immense respect for the people in  uniform  and  the  army.  I  regard  the  men and women in uniform as  performing  a  noble,  national  duty.  However,  at  this juncture, I  can  no  longer  continue  to  be  part  of the  ongoing  destruction of our beloved  country by  the  same army.

3. Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) is supposed to be transformed and professionalized into a national, non-partisan army  as  articulated  in  the SPLA  White  Paper  on  Defense  and  the    Interim  Constitution. However, President Salva Kiir and his Dinka leadership clique have tactically and systematically transformed the SPLA into a partisan and tribal army. It is a militia loyal only to its tribal leadership in the person of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan. It has truly become  a tribal militia establishment. Consequently  SPLA  as  a national  institution has lost respect of the people of South Sudan and, even the international Community. The SPLA have betrayed the mandate entrusted to them by the people and the Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. Worst  of all, SPLA and its current leadership has not only  shattered  the  dreams,  hopes and aspirations of the people  of South Sudan to live in peace  and dignity in   a harmonious society and prosperous country but have participated and at times taken the lead in systematic killings of people, rape of women and burning of villages in the name of pursuing rebels in peaceful villages; members of SPLA have appropriated to themselves other people’s properties; they have deliberately  and by design misused  our people  and  the resources of the country for conducting and sustaining this senseless and destructive war.

4. President  Salva Kiir, and Jieng Council of Elders, which  is the real cabinet  of the Government, failed to recognize the sacrifices and struggle of other nationalities of South Sudan which started even before the August 1955, mutiny. Indeed they go to the extent of denying the contributions of other nationalities in the liberation struggle publicly and in functions of the  SPLA.

The overwhelming majority of all our communities voted for the independence of South Sudan. Instead of developing the army and the country, very unfortunately, the President of the Republic and Commander­ in-Chief, with his tribal clique spearheaded by Jieng Council of Elders, have concentrated on coordinating planning for  establishing  and  entrenching Dinka ethnic domination, and pursuing a strategy of turning the SPLA and other organized forces into brutal tribal forces that serve as instruments of control and clinging to power. Terrorizing and intimidating their opponents, perceived or real, into silence has become a preoccupation of  the  Government .

5. To implement the above strategy, they (the President and the clique around him) have systematically recruited and deployed Dinkas in all  security sectors and units, paying particular attention to promoting and appointing Dinkas from sections hailing specifically from Bahr el Ghazal Region, the home area of the President and the Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen Paul Malong Awan . These new recruits and those promoted to officer ranks have been assigned as commanders of most SPLA units. The same selective and discriminative practices are applied at both national and state levels where most of the heads of organized forces, be it the Police (Police  commissioners), Prison, Wildlife, Fire Brigade, Customs, Military Intelligence, CID and National Security are mostly commanded by  the  Dinka. By design, the nationalist revolutionaries who fought the war of liberation have been made redundant; they have been  humiliated , demoralized and effectively demobilized from service.

6. Mathiang Anyor and Dut ko-beny tribal militias who have taken over the SPLA have become an occupation force in some parts of the country. Consciously and in pursuit of a policy of ethnic  targeting,  the  Mathiang Anyor are on a campaign of systematic rape,  killing,  mistreating,  humiliating and torturing civilians. Counting on  what  appears  like  protection from above that enables them to escape justice – a culture of impunity now widely acknowledged within and outside South Sudan – they occupy civilian houses and loot their properties at will. The Mathiang Anyor deliberately applied policy of scorch earth by burning whole villages, grabbing land, especially in Equatoria, Chollo land and Western Bahr el Ghazal. For instance, during both December 2013 and July 2016 violence, these tribal forces including President Salva Kiir’s Tiger Division, brazenly went on the rampage killing, rape, torture and looting systematically in an unprecedented  manner.

7. The continuous insecurity happening right now across the  Republic  of  South Sudan is caused by the SPLA militia and other ethnically organized forces and security organs. They are the ones killing  people  in the  capital and other towns of South Sudan in the name of “Unknown Gunmen.” In fact these people are “known gunmen .” This systematic targeted killing  of civilians is one of the main reasons that made South Sudanese to flee their villages and homes to become either internally displaced persons  or  Refugees.
The Government has never come out clearly to condemn these barbaric behavior and crimes against humanity. The President and Dinka political and military leadership only came out and condemned this kind of atrocities when Juba- Yei road incident took place in October last year, where a number of innocent civilians were killed. And  this was because the victims were from the Dinka ethnic group.
8. The SPLA militias and other security organs are looting government assets and hijacking government and private vehicles and taking those stolen properties to their states of origin to use or sell. There is no remedy for the aggrieved.

9. Innocent civilians, especially non Dinkas, are being arbitrarily arrested, detained and killed by the security organs all over the country. Those  detained are subjected to various forms of torture and humiliation in what they call “Safe Houses” and other secret prisons. For example in Jebel Luri where the President’s special residence is built, and in Gorum military area controlled by Tiger Division of President Kiir and Matiang Anyor Militia, many of these innocent detainees continue  dying in  these  “prisons”.  They are falsely accused of either expressing opposing views or supporting  rebels.

10. Until this time that I am submitting my resignation,  some  years  have  elapsed without holding official meeting of Command of the Army, especially after General  Malong took over command  of the  SPLA. There is total collapse of the chain of command; the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) and the Chief of Staff mostly meet in their  own  residencies  with  close  and  trusted  officers  who are their tribesmen (tribal commanders). These officers are labeled  as “Loyal Officers.” Strangely, included in these meetings are some members of Jieng Council of Elders, (perhaps as ‘non-uniformed officers’ – essentially tribesmen directing or advising the army). All the powers in the army  is  confined to the Chief of General  Staff  who  uses  them  to  build  and consolidate the military strength of “SPLA  militia”  for  implementing  the “Dinka Agenda” of subjugating, humiliating or destroying any  of  the  other  tribes  who  dare  to  stand  in  their  way. The  small  number  of  SPLA  soldiers
from other tribes are deliberately neglected and  left without  deployment; they remain unarmed, even during times  of  emergences.  The  same treatment is generalized to the other organized forces in non-Dinka   States.

11. Since 2005, the time the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed up to this moment, most SPLA from non-Dinka (Mainly from Equatoria Region) have been deliberately deployed out of Equatoria to Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile regions. As a policy, they have been kept out of Equatoria since the signing of the CPA in 2005. They have been denied even leave or permission to visit their families. And those who were in Eastern Sudan front during liberation war, and  were  subsequently  deployed  to Upper Nile, Abeyi and Bahar el Gazal areas after the war, are still in those places up to this moment. They have lost contact with  their  families,  children and parents.  Many have lost their lives in those wars after the   CPA
– during the wars with Sudan; Gen. George Athor’s rebellion; the  Cobra wars of David Yau Yau and the 2013 wars caused by the split within SPLM and the fight over power. Up to this moment these dear  sons of  our nation who offered their lives for the liberation and freedom of our people are being treated in an inhuman way just for the sake of  massaging  the  egos  of  a small clique of people pursuing a futile agenda of tribal hegemony. On the other hand SPLA soldiers from the Dinka ethnic group  have  been strategically deployed  and posted  in non-Dinka  areas to  support the policy of land occupation and enforcing the agenda of forceful Dinkanization and domination of the country.

12. This discrimination and crimes against humanity  are  committed  not  only on non-Dinkas alone but also visited on the Dinkas who are opposed to the policy of discrimination on ethnic bases and destruction of the country. Such Dinkas are regarded  as enemies as well.
The policy of ethnic domination and subjugation being pursued  openly by  the President and his close associates has made Dinkas  to be painted  with  the same brush by other communities/ nationalities, (without making distinction between the good Dinkas and the bad ones). As a result,  the  Dinka community has come to be hated by their own brothers  and  sisters from other communities. Pursuit of this wrong-headed policy has also destroyed the fabric of South Sudan  society.

13. All this time we have been talking to, and persuading the C-in-C and members of the Army Command hailing from the Dinka ethnic group, especially those who are known to be members of Dinka ruling clique, to refrain from this tribally oriented policy that  cannot promote  nationalism  and unity, and which  can only destroy the country to no avail. All these

efforts went in vain as they have fallen on deaf ears. Therefore,  it  has become important at this crucial moment of our history not to continue working under the leadership of President Salva Kiir that is intentionally subjecting the people of South Sudan to unprecedented and unacceptable cycles of violence and human suffering. This type of inhuman treatment and the human agony it entails has never happened before, even during the time when  Khartoum  was ruling South Sudan.
14. In light of the above and in conclusion Your Excellency, I would like to tell you frankly and in honesty that in my view, you have disgraced yourself and the office of President of the Republic; you have disgraced the Dinka people and made them to be hated by their brothers and sisters from other nationalities; and above all you have become a disgrace to our country because you have consciously, willfully, persistently, defying all sensible advice, and by design, failed the people of South  Sudan.
Given the above reasons that are by no means exhaustive, I hereby resign from the position of Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics, and from the Sudan People’s Liberatio Army (SPLA).

 

Lt Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka
Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics, SPLA

 

Cc: Minister of Defense
Cc: Minister of National Security Cc: SPLA Chief of General Staff
Cc: Deputies of Chief of General Staff Cc: SPLA Inspector General
Cc: Director of National Security Cc: Directors in the G/ HQS
Cc: Sectors/ Division Commanders Cc: Specialized Units Commanders
Cc: Gallant Men and Women of the Historical SPLA Cc: The Public

 

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