JUBA – South Sudan’s former army chief and leader of opposition South Sudan United Front (SSUF/A) General Paul Malong Awan has this week promoted over 1000 officers to higher ranks in the holdout opposition group, according to a document obtained by Sudans Post.
On December 15, Malong wrote: “As part of its pursuit to organize the ranks and file of the army, and based on the recommendations of the promotion and ranking committee, and pursuant to the provisions of the powers vested in me as Chairman and C-IN-C South Sudan United Front/Army in the first sitting of leadership and Command Council, I Gen. Paul Malong Awan, do hereby endorse the promotion of one thousand and forty six (1046) of the senior and junior officers.”
Malong however did not publish the list of the officers promoted and did not mention why.
However a senior member of the group, Major-General Dickson Gatluak Joak, said in an email to Sudans Post that the names would remain anonymous for security concerns and to prevent security organs in Juba from tracking them down.
“The military leadership of SSUF/A has kept the promotion list strictly confidential and shall not disclose it to the public to prevent the Bilpam GHQs and NSS [National Security Service] from accessing the list and other information of the promoted cadres,” General Gatluak said.
The senior opposition commander further added that the measure was also meant “to protect the officers who are within their reach so they are not endangered or targeted.”