Sudan Tribune

May 15, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudan President Salva Kiir has issued several orders restructuring the army, renaming the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) to South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF).

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (Photo: Reuters)

In a Presidential Decree number 85/2017 read out on the state-owned television (SSBC) on Monday, Kiir surprisingly reinstated Major General Dau Aturjong Nyuol into the country’s active military service.

Aturjong switched allegiance from the army in 2014 after the eruption of conflict but later returned to Juba where he defected from the armed opposition forces (SPLM-IO) in July last year.

President Kiir, in a separate decree, restructured the SPLA into three institutions, namely the ground force, air force and air defence and navy units. Each of the institutions will be overseen by a commander.

The presidential decrees are in line with the resolutions of the fifth SPLA Command Council Conference in June 2016, which authorised the establishment of a Defense Structural Review Committee, tasked with the review of the structures of the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs to be in line with the SPLA white paper of 2008.

Meanwhile, in another republican order, Kiir restructured the leadership of the SPLA general staff to hierarchically consist of the Commander in Chief, the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, the Chief of Defense force, the Deputy Chief of Defense force and Inspector General. This abolished the previous structure, where deputy chief of general staff is now assistant chief of general staff.

The new structure envisages re-branding the army as departments will now be headed by an assistant. As such, for instance, the deputy chief of general staff for finance and administration now becomes assistant chief of defence force for administration, personnel and finance.