JUBA, Sudan, June 9, (Gurtong) – The Sudan People’s Liberation
Army headquarters in Juba has finished radioing across the region the names
of all officers from a former militia and calling for their total inclusion
said its spokesperson on Saturday.
Sudan’s Salva Kiir visits Rumbek, tells army no more war
By Skye Wheeler
A declaration on 28 May made by the President of south Sudan Salva Kiir formally
called for the integration of the 31,000 ex-milita Southern Sudan Defense Force
(SSDF) combatants into the south’s army, more than a year after this process
The Juba Declaration was signed between Kiir and SSDF head Paulino Matip exactly
one year after the Jan 2005 peace agreement that ended decades of north-south
war in Sudan during which the SSDF was sponsored by the northern forces to fight
in the South.
“We started on the 28th and we only finished yesterday,” said Kuol
Diem Kuol about the radio messaging of the 3,657 named officers across the vast
wildernesses of the south, “today there is no SSDF … the forces
will be distributed into the six divisions of the SPLA” .
But although the ex-SSDF will now be treated as equals with original SPLA soldiers,
the army’s US$550 million budget for this year does not include their
“The Commander in Chief (Salva Kiir) formed a committee to review the
budget … the recommendation to the Government of Southern Sudan was for
them to provide a supplementary budget,” said Kuol.
A declaration by Salva Kiir on 28 May made official the integration of the ex SSDF -- which totals some 31,000 combatants -- into the south's official army just under a year and a half since the process was begun under the Juba Declaration of Jan 9 2006.
But Kuol said that the SSDF incentives in lieu of payment while the integration
process was ongoing had led to overspending in 2006. This has meant that January
salaries for SPLA have not yet been paid – although a special supplement
has been promised.
Kuol said the soldiers have been paid for February and March and cash is in
the bank for April and May payments.
Kuol said that delays in payment were partly due to the logistics of pay sheets
in the conflict ravaged south and also because of delays from the finance ministry.
But the acting minister for finance Gabriel Changson Chang denied that the
problems are to do with his ministry.
“The truth is that they have been getting their salaries as other units
in full,” said Chang but who also said in the same interview this week
that his government was going to cut down on spending this year in the face
of smaller than expected oil revenues.
“We’re not going to write any new budget but going to scale down
expenditure to tally with cash flow,” said Chang.
But the spokesperson said that there were no concerns about affording to pay
the new members of the south’s army which receives 40 per cent of the
“We believe our government is committed to the unity of our people, definitely
they will support us,” said Kuol.