August 23, 2012 (SSNA) — On August 22, 2012, the SPLM – USA National Secretariat, learned with great shock the passing of General Paulino Matip Nhial, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the South Sudan Armed Forces (SPLA) in Nairobi’s Mayo Clinic after a long battle with illness. The lost of this giant and one of the most decorated, respected and feared military officers in the history of South Sudan, has not only left a big hole in the hearts of his people but could not come at the wrong time. At a time when the two Sudans struggle to coexist as neighbors, it is no brainer that the first to lose a military mind of Gen. Matip’s caliber is at a disadvantage. For this, the people of South Sudan cannot be blamed if they chose to believe that God has been unfair to them since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) for taking great sons of the land in what seems to be succession.
General Matip fought the inevitable illness valiantly, as he always does, but ultimately lost one of the rare battles of his life to it. With his lost, the people of South Sudan should rightfully mourn but not lose sight of the big picture, which is his legacy of peace, reconciliation, fairness and resolve. The only way we can dishonor him is by forgetting his legacy, neglecting his wishes, South Sudanese unity, his family and his army – the SPLA. One must make no mistake of thinking that he can be replaced, but we must all understand that we can and must move on stronger and more united than before. Let’s once more thank him for joining President Kiir in safeguarding our dignity and the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA).
With this few words, we want to express our deepest and sincere condolences to the people of South Sudan, the SPLA, the Nuer community and his family. His legacy will live on!