Portrait: The SSLA, South Sudan Liberation Army
Southern Sudan’s struggle with new rebel groups after independence in this year’s July. From this year’s July on the African continent counts 54 countries. With the official independence of South Sudan, the former state Sudan got divided into two separated, independent countries: Sudan and South Sudan. Both states went through a long history of civil wars and political as well as social struggle.
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Now South Sudan finally became an independent state but still struggles with military conflicts within their territory. Especially in the borderland of the two provinces Bahr el Ghazal and Greater Upper Nile towards Sudan attacks on South Sudan’s military as well as on civilians are still the order of the day.
A few days ago, the 29th October 2011, the town Mayom which lays in the home area of the SSLA’s commander Peter Catdet got attacked by South Sudan rebels. This attack in which course at least 75 people got killed, both from South Sudan’s army, civilians and rebels from the SSLA, is the latest reported military activity in the area.
But what is the SSLA actually? Where does it take its stand? The SSLA is a newly formed rebel group in South Sudan and stands for South Sudan Liberation Army. The group is under the command of Peter Catdet. He for his part is a senior commander of the southern Sudanese army. According to mcclatchydc.com he stated his motives for his fight against the South Sudanese government in a statement in this year’s April: He accuses the government of tribal nepotism, corruption, mismanagement of the military as well as undemocratic rule. The SSLA understands itself as a liberation movement that is supposed to free South Sudan from its current government. During its military activity the SSLA got accused to receive arms supply from the North. Juba government directly blames Khartoum of active support of the rebel movement.
In an interview with BBC’s James Copnall in Khartoum, Sudan, current SSLA’s leader Major General Bapiny Montyuil talks about the arms supply of the SSLA. He mentions both South Sudanese and Europeans as arms suppliers. In terms of the fight against Juba government he declares the large oil fields in South Sudan as a possible target of their attacks. In his point of view Juba government uses the money coming from oil production for buying weapons and for financing its army. Moreover he states his main motive for his fight as living in freedom and starting a peaceful life in a new founded country, in a free South Sudan.
The following videos give an impression how numerous and well equipped the SSLA fighters seem to be.