Rebel groups say recent defection is a result of their ‘new policy of replacing old commanders’, dispute government reports

Reasons behind the defection of Maj. Gen. James Duit Yiech

For Immediate Release
Joint Statement of SSDF, NDF, SSLA and SSDA
Date: 07/05/2012

May 7, 2012 (SSNA) — The leadership of South Sudan revolutionary forces would like to clarify to the world the reasons behind the defection of Maj. Gen. James Duit Yiech with one hundred and thirty soldiers to the forces of corruption (SPLA) on May, 05, 2012. The media of corrupt government in Juba fabricated and concocted reasons behind his defection to deceive the people of South Sudan in away to make it appear that a large number of revolutionary forces surrendered to the forces of corruption. In fact, Maj. Gen. James Duit Yiech defected to the forces of corruption with only one hundred and thirty soldiers. What is reported by the forces of corruption that he defected with two hundred and fifteen soldiers is untrue.

Prior to his defection, the leadership of revolutionary forces held an emergency meeting in Maban to discuss the consolidation of military alliance of all rebel Movements and the need to establish a political organ that would serve as basis of National Transitional Council (NTC). The meeting discussed mobilization and strategy of the liberation struggle and concluded the followings points:

1. The success of any armed liberation movement depends on the effectiveness and efficiency of its mobilization strategies to reach out to the target groups for support in terms of human resources to voluntarily join its operations to faster its liberation purposes.

2. The dissolution of the current government of the Republic of South Sudan so as to be replaced by a national broad-base, multiparty system of government, agreed upon by all the political forces, revolutionary forces and civil society organizations.

3. To install and promote the culture of respect for human rights, and democracy, as well as good governance and rule of law for the benefits of all citizens of South Sudan.

4. In order for revolutionary forces to be effective in spearheading a national liberation struggle against the regime in Juba, it was agreed that they needed to extend their operations to Greater Equatoria. Since Greater Equatoria is the heart of SPLM regime and also the seat of National Government, fighting the regime within Greater Equatoria territories will hit the regime in Juba so hard that both the international community and South Sudanese community will feel the presence of revolutionary forces.

5. The restructuring of the military command of revolutionary forces is a prerequisite for the operational successes against the forces of corruption. It was agreed that old commanders must be replaced by young and educated officers in the field. It was also agreed that high school, college and university graduates must replace the less educated in commanding the battalions of revolutionary forces to fight effectively. The idea of replacing old commanders with young ones was precipitated by the notion that no organization—be it political or none-political—could ever be effective in society, and successfully executes its programs, as well as attain its vision, without proper organizational structures.

6. The revolutionary forces need to identify ethnic groups in South Sudan that are marginalized and are subjugated by the SPLM regime in order to be the backbone of the revolutionary forces.

As a result of the points agreed upon by the leadership of the revolutionary forces in the meeting, Lt. Gen. Gordon Koang Chol ordered the replacement of Maj. Gen. James Duit Yiech and Brig. Gen. James Duoth Lam. The former is a sixty eight year-old man and the latter is sixty seven and both are too old to effectively command. As it was agreed that young and educated officers must command the battalions of the revolutionary forces, Lt. Gordon Koang appointed university graduates from North America to replace Maj. Gen. James Duit Yiech and Brig. Gen. James Duoth Lam.

The new policy of replacing old commanders with young and educated officers didn’t sit well with James Duit Yiech and James Duoth Lam. Their defection to forces of corruption on May, 05, 2012 was caused by their rejection of accepting to serve as military advisors instead to command the battalions.

The defection of the two old men will not affect the revolutionary forces and it is a blessing in disguise because the transformation of military structures within revolutionary forces will be realized without them. People may wonder whether Salva Kiir will keep sixty eight and sixty seven year olds in the ranks and file of his forces without violating the law of retirement. It is a normal practice among civilized people all over the world that people approaching seventy can no longer serve in the army. If Salva Kiir would rely on using outdated soldiers like James Duit Yiech and James Duoth Lam, it follows logically that the young and educated officers of the revolutionary forces will defeat the forces of corruption without spending much energy.

The allegations made by the regime in Juba that the revolutionary forces are being supported by the government of Sudan are lies and James Duit Yiech was prepared and advised to make false accusations to suit the propaganda of Juba. We would state, in no uncertain terms, that the forces of SSDF, SSLA, NDF and SSDA do not receive any financial or military support from Sudan government. The main supplier of our forces is the regime of Salva Kiir whose forces defected to the rebel forces with cars and weapons. The cars shown on South Sudan Television are SPLA army cars and do not belong to forces of James Duit Yiech. Maj. Gen. James Duit Yiech and Brig. Gen. James Duoth Lam defected to the forces of corruption without cars. The corrupt regime of Juba gave them SPLA cars to take pictures in order to consolidate its false accusation that the Sudan government supports the revolutionary forces. The truth is that James Duit Yiech defected to the forces of corruption without cars.

In conclusion, we would like to inform the people of South Sudan that James Duith Yiech and James Duoth Lam defected to the forces of corruption because they rejected to be replaced by young and educated officers who would safeguard the democratic revolution. It is the belief of the revolutionary forces that young and educated South Sudanese should be the one commanding the forces because without educated military officers, it would be difficult to preserve democratic government in South Sudan after the total elimination and destruction of Salva Kiir’s regime. To prepare the South for democratic transformation, the leadership of revolutionary forces decided to replace all field commanders of the rebel forces with officers who graduated from universities and Colleges. After the defection of James Duit Yiech, the forces of SSDF in Maban, Longichuk and Maiwut counties are now commanded by university graduates from North America.


1. Lt. Gen. Gordon Koang, head of SSDF
2. Maj. Gen. James Gai Yoach. Head of SSLA
3. Maj. Gen. Johnson Olony, head of SSDA
4. Maj. Gen. Thomas Thiel, head of NDF
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