South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir issued a republican order assigning a high ranking allied militia commander to the highest military command in the country.
Kiir assigned allied militia commander, Lieutenant General, Bapiny Monytuil, as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) deputy chief of general staff for moral orientation.
President Salva Kiir has made a move that seeks to reward defectors from the rebel forces battling his government. So far, two of those who pledged loyalty to the government have been rewarded with positions in the government. These are Bapiny Monytuil and Johnson Olony.
Bapiny was one of the militia commanders in the oil-producing Unity state who took up arms against the government in 2011 and fought under the umbrella of the defunct South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A) led by Peter Gatdet in protest of the way the state was managed under the leadership of the former governor, Taban Deng Gai.
President Kiir in April 2012 issued an order pardoning at least six militia commanders and their forces in April and asked them to reintegrate into the army. The reintegration was granted to forces of Bapiny and Johnson Olony. Four other rebel leaders covered by the amnesty at the time included Gordong Kong Chol, David Yau-Yau, Oyuok Ogot and Munto Abdhalla Munto and their forces.
Bapiny’s forces have been able to push away the rebel forces allied to the former vice president, Riek Machar, in Unity state from the time they pledged their loyalty to Kiir.
The unexpected move by the South Sudan government to assign a former militia commander top military command sparks suspicions of the commitment of the president and his regime to transform the national army into a conventional and formidable professional force in the country.
It will be an army that will be capable against other anti- government militia insurgence, especially the main militia under command of former vice president, Riek Machar.