News / Africa

Thousands Have Defected From South Sudan Army, Officials Say

Rebel fighters listen to their commander in rebel-controlled territory in Upper Nile state, South Sudan on Feb. 15, 2014.
Rebel fighters listen to their commander in rebel-controlled territory in Upper Nile state, South Sudan on Feb. 15, 2014.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
— Two months into the conflict in South Sudan, government officials have said that thousands of soldiers have defected from the army and joined anti-government forces. 

Government Chief Whip Tulio Odongi said between 60 and 70 percent of SPLA soldiers have defected while army spokesman Philip Aguer said there have been  "a sizeable number" of defections.

"The rough figure will be around 10,000-20,000 of the SPLA force who have defected,” Aguer said. He refused to say what percentage of the total number of SPLA troops that represented.

Odongi said most of the troops who have gone to fight for the opposition are former militia fighters who have been integrated into the SPLA over the years since the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended the decades-long war between Khartoum and then rebels from southern Sudan.

Odongi said he believes integrating militia fighters into the SPLA was a mistake.

"Soldiers recruited under the political cut shall always remain loyal to their masters," he said.

Despite the admission that thousands of SPLA troops have defected, the government remains hopeful that peace talks in Addis Ababa will end the conflict, Odongi said.

Once the talks achieve that, the government should concentrate on professionalizing the army, he said.

Representatives from the pro- and anti-government sides have been in the Ethiopian capital since last week for the second round of talks aimed at starting a political dialogue and beginning the reconciliation process in South Sudan, where thousands are believed to have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced by weeks of conflict.

The first round of talks ended in late January with agreements to stop hostilities immediately and to expedite the release of 11 political figures who were detained in the days following the start of the crisis. 

Both sides have accused the other of breaching the cessation of hostilities agreement and only seven of the 11 detainees have been released.

They are currently at the talks in Addis Ababa, but the government of South Sudan has said it has enough evidence to charge the other four, who are still in detention, with treason for plotting what President Salva Kiir has said was an unsuccessful attempt to oust him on Dec. 15, which started the weeks of fighting.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: tiop from: aus
February 21, 2014 8:40 AM
Why did you vote for independent while knowing that u will take us back to war we re very so but God will make this things change


by: malolo kudior from: South Sudan
February 21, 2014 4:35 AM
it is hundred percent true because not that are not comfortable to the ruling part but you leave the duty the way you get job. three quarter of SPLA were just came in through intergration@militia but not more recuritment system.
why only in the Army and police????? and we have other organizes forces plus the civilians/interior, mean majority were army militias.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid