Defections of high-ranking officials (not the very top ones , this has happened in the past – without much effect—and will happen again in the future) has accelerated in Juba . In the last week several important figures fled the coop :
• It started with Lt General Thomas Cirillo , Deputy Chief of Staff of the SPLA Army (Feb . 11th)
• It was then followed by Lt General Gabriel Duop Lam , Minister of Labor on February 17th
• The next day two more defectors left : Colonel Khalid Ono Loki , Head of Military Courts and Henry Oyay Nyago the Director of Military Justice
All wrote letters of resignation that lamented the same things : end of the rule of law , tribalism – they themselves all belong to various tribes an only one (Duop Lam) is a Nuer like the rebel leader Riak Machar – unchecked violence and no respect of any rules or regulations . From that point of view it is the accusations made Oyay Nyago which are the worst as he gives names and dates of massacres as well as of the refusal of President Salva Kiir to do anything about those . Obviously the already bad South Sudan situation is turning worse .
But when I brought this dormant blog to life , I made an intellectual commitment to parse it out in such a way that the Arab/Horn of Africa conflict would become a bit less complicated (in interpretation : its nature is unlikely to be modified !) . So how does this relate to the heart of the matter ? Indirectly . Since the conflict has been broadening it has involved a growing number of players . And this is directly related to the defections . Salva has launched the S. Sudan NSS after Thomas Cirillo – the most dangerous one because he could swing a number of his fellow Bari into armed opposition to the government – and , according to our sources , the other defections were carried out by people who had been thinking about jumping the fence and who decided to make their move now to help Cirillo .
NSS has a limited number of agents and their instructions are to go after Cirillo as the number one target . The South Sudan agents are working overtime and we’ll soon do a blog about NSS kidnappings of opponents in Kenya (and their illegal transfer through Uganda) . NSS is going to have its hands full . But what about the Horn question ? The Egyptians are now in the game (they have sent observers to Upper Nile and , at the other end of the arch , are now participating in the ruckus about the projected U.A.E. base in Berbera) .
Now the game is : where is Thomas Cirillo and where are the others ? Duop Lam was abroad and chose not to go back to Juba . He flew to Khartoum and then to an unknown destination . Johannesburg perhaps , since he has pledged allegiance to Riak Machar who is still living there under house arrest . Will the two meet and will the NSS manage to intercept its target ? Cirillo has completely vanished . Perhaps the Ethiopians might know where a man who could help them counter the Egyptian threat from South Sudan is ? Addis has its hands full with the anti-Ethiopian vituperations of “Formajo” in Mogadiscio and does not need another thorn in its side . But we’ll soon go back to that .
February 18th 2017