South Sudan general resigns, says leader 'disgraced' himself

AP News
Posted: Feb 11, 2017 6:21 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South Sudanese general resigned Saturday while telling President Salva Kiir "you have disgraced yourself" by subjecting the civil war-torn country to ethnic bias and "unacceptable cycles of violence."

The resignation letter, seen by The Associated Press, came from Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the deputy chief of general staff for logistics. Government and army spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment.

Warnings of genocide hang over South Sudan, where a 2015 peace deal has failed to stop the three-year civil war that has killed tens of thousands and forced 1.5 million to flee.

Swaka's letter accuses the president of a "policy of ethnic domination and subjugation" in which Kiir's ethnic Dinka group "has come to be hated by their own brothers and sisters from other communities."

The general adds he is convinced the "tribally engineered war" had been planned and that the government orchestrated violations of the peace deal that led to deadly fighting in the capital, Juba, in July. The violence forced Kiir's rival and then-vice president Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, to flee the country. Machar remains in exile.

Non-Dinka tribes in South Sudan are being neglected, Swaka writes, and "soldiers from the Dinka ethnic group have been strategically deployed and posted in non-Dinka areas to support the policy of land occupation and enforcing the agenda of forceful Dinkanization and domination of the country."

In April, South Sudan's military denied tensions between it and Swaka over land issues.

The United Nations has warned that South Sudan is witnessing ethnic cleansing. "The risk that mass atrocities will be committed remains ever-present," the U.N. secretary-general's adviser on genocide prevention, Adama Dieng, said this week.

A U.S.-led effort to have the U.N. Security Council impose an arms embargo on South Sudan failed late last year.