Juba, April 22, 2018 (SSNA) — The Republic of South Sudan is training ethnic militias in Gogrial State to fighting against South Sudanese rebels, a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) on Sunday.
The official explains that South Sudanese President and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) quietly ordered recruitment of young men who are “loyal supporters of the government” and that the JCE recommended Bahr el Ghazal region as a place to train the new recruits.
“There are more than 8, 000 new recruits as we speak. These young men are now being trained on northern Gogrial state close to Twic state,” the official told the South Sudan News Agency in Juba. “It is a big mobilization,” he added.
“The trainees were recruited from Gogrial and Twic states and some were recruited from Padang and Bor Dinka,” he said. The official added that people who were appointed by Kiir to head the operation are based in Gogrial’s capital, Kuajok. He claims the leaders of the new recruits includes seven senior officials from Twic and Gogrial states.
The official asserted that Kiir and the JCE believe the armed opposition, SPLM/A-IO, and other armed groups are getting stronger and want to recruit at least 25,000 young men from areas that are loyal to meet such a threat.
The source further explained that the training is done without the knowledge of other high-ranking government officials. He disclosed that Juba’s residents are now talking about the new development.
“Our people are now talking about a second “Mathiang Anyoor” or “Dot Ke Beny” militia being trained in Gogrial and Twic states,” he explained.
Michael Makuey Lueth, who is widely viewed as the architect of April 2014 Bor massacre, has also been implicated in the new recruitment drive.
It is not clear why Kiir and the JCE ordered the new recruitment and training of militias. However, the source revealed to the SSNA that Kiir no longer trusts some Juba-backed battalions after former army chief of staff Paul Malong Awan declared his rebellion.
Some human rights organizations, the United States, European Union, and the United Nations have in the past accused South Sudan of financing and supporting pro-government militias.