SPLA changes to SSDF: Is Malong a baptismal sacrifice?

By: Samuel Atabi, South Sudanese, MAY/16/2017, SSN;

The sacked Chief of Staff, Paul Malong, of the re-named tribal SPLA is a character from the ‘Lord of the Flies’, a 1954 novel published by the Nobel prize-wining English author William Golding. The book tells a story of a group of young British boys’ disastrous attempt to govern themselves on a remote and isolated island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

The novel plots a story of power struggle between two characters, Jack and Ralph, as to who will be the leader on their new territory.

Jack, a power-hungry maniac plots to kill Ralph, a level-headed boy whose main concern is the well-being of every boy on the island.

Jack frightens the young ones with a false story of a presence of a beast on the island; this is a ruse to justify galloping ambition to be a leader in order to save the group.

In contrast, Ralph says there is no such a beast. Jack, with the help of a hatchet boy, Roger, forcibly grabs symbols of power from Ralph: these are a conch, for a democratic right to speak in a gathering and eye glasses, which is the only means of starting a fire in the wilderness of the island.

Jacks set up a shrine of a false god, actually a severed head of a wild pig mounted on a stick with swarming flies. The name of the god is the ‘Lord of the Flies’.

The struggle becomes deadly where two boys are killed, one by Roger using a boulder thrown from an elevated position, while the other is crushed by worshippers of the new god. Roger helps Jack to hunt down Ralph who has run away and hid in another part of the island.

The hunting party, armed with sticks sharpened at both ends, flashes Ralph out of his hideout by setting fire to the forest. It then pursues him for a final kill. Ralph strips and falls down prostrate, on the ground.

And at exactly that moment, an adult in the form of a naval officer appears on the scene. The officer has been alerted while on a nearby ship by the raging fire that is almost burning down the whole of the island. He helps stop the madness and Ralph is thus rescued.

Can one see a resemblance of this dangerous childhood prank to the recent happenings in South Sudan?

If one has knowledge of where the ruling clique of the burning South Sudan came from, then equating these leaders to the child-characters in the ‘Lords of the Flies’ cannot be considered as far-fetched.

The infantile manner in which they refuse to take responsibility for their genocidal action can be largely blamed on the deceased leader of the SPLA, Dr John Garang. He led the now defunct SPLA with an iron fist. It was as if he was the only adult in the liberation army.

He controlled everything, from store-keeping to training and promotion of the rank and file. He negotiated the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) by himself, because he could not trust any of his lieutenants to lead a delegation to the peace talks. The Sudan delegation was led by the deputy to Omer Beshir.

Garang sneered at formal education, (despite his PhD) and he lulled the barely educated soldiers that un-education was not necessarily a bad thing.

In any case, he predicted, those who were educating themselves away from the front lines would eventually be clerks to his victorious liberating, if functionally illiterate, soldiers.

The title ‘Dr’ was only reserved for him while those with similar qualifications and titles were forbidden from appending them to their names. He brooked no criticism and indiscipline.

And he was famously quoted as saying that “rebellion (in his army) can be forgiven but not rewarded”. Rebels such as Riek Machar, Lam Akol and Kiir himself, were forced to return to Garang’s fold without any concession to their original complaints for rebelling.

Garang was thus acting as the famous Banyan tree, under which other seedlings are smothered and cannot grow. When death took him away in the late 2005, his ‘children’ were left as orphans, bereft of any knowledge of leadership skills and statecraft; not unlike those in the ‘Lords of the Flies’.

The conclave that sat to choose a successor to Garang selected Salva Kiir, knowing very well that he was the least qualified and the least able candidate. Their choice was dictated by juvenile selfishness, thinking they would be able to manipulate him much more easily than they were able to do with the haughty Garang. They could not have predicted the disaster that Kiir would become.

On ascending the throne, Kiir quickly surrounded himself with advisors whom he chose from among his own tribe mates.

Now known as the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), these advisors decided on one thing: that Kiir must remain in power indefinitely and for this to happen, he must become a dictator.

It was the process of turning Kiir into a dictator that precipitated the power struggle, which like the case in the ‘Lord of the Flies, has led to the conflagration that has engulfed and is consuming our country.

The leading stoker of this firestorm is Paul Malong, who until recently, the Chief of Staff of the SPLA. He mobilized and recruited Dinka youth from his home in Bahr el Ghazal region into a horde of primitive militia that has burnt homes, raped and killed their owners and sent millions into refugee and IDP camps. He was the Roger of the ‘Lord of the Flies’.

Adults in the form of UN officials, UNMISS, US, UK, and Norwegian envoys have constantly stepped on the scene to restrain Kiir and Malong and others from burning down this island known as South Sudan, but to no avail.

Of late, Kiir and the JCE have come to note that their ship named the ‘SPLA’ is listing very badly and to save their skin, they have thrown overboard the man who saved his (Kiir’s) bacon, Paul Malong.

In a swift follow-up, Kiir and his advisors have re-baptized their ship, South Sudan Defense Force, the SSDF.

All these attempts at salvage will not fool anybody. Kiir and his advisors are not seven-year old children playing with fire and petrol in South Sudan. They are conscious adults who are clearly aware of their responsibility in causing genocide in our country.

Therefore, this article, despite its use of William Golding’s book as an allegory, disavows any notion of excusing the horrendous crimes committed by Kiir and his JCE. They must be held accountable and tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

Samuel Atabi is a concerned South Sudanese and can be reached at: samuelatabi@gmail.com


  1. info@southsudannation says:

    Sam Atabi,
    The snake periodically sheds and changes its skin but it’s still the same vicious, poisonous and deadly reptile.
    Call this homicidal and criminal monstrosity the SPLA or SSDF or whatever, it’s still the same criminal tribal group that has wrecked the very heart of our nation.
    What is most needed is accountability for all the unforgivable crimes of genocide committed by the leaders, from Garang to Kiir to Malong……. et al.

  2. False Millionnaire says:

    Bravo Mr Atabi. First time to read something interesting from u.As it’s said,better to come on too late then never.Your projection of the reality is already à mirror for those of Riek Machar,Lam Akol and Kiir himself to see themselves as being way too low in intelligence to Garang. U would have desrved an A+ grade if u had resisted falling short of declaring Garang and RSS as two faces of the same coin.
    Being a learned fellow,consider Napoléon in the bloody history of France but u would still never appreciate the solid french’s foundation without Napoléon’s contribution. Kegame kilt his way to power in Rwanda but that’s exactly what Rwanda had needed to obtain an illusion of a small Europe’s entity in Africa.
    U tame a fierce lion with stick and meat.U are free to toy with ideas as u like.But divided or in one entity,the ends of RSS will never hold togather if good luck couldn’t occasion another leader with Stone cutter’s détermination like Garang.So better think of him as the missing Moses in our grave circumstances of suffering.

    • Bentiu Ramaran says:

      False Millionnaire,

      Thanks for appreciating the writing of those who are concern about the welbeing of South Sudan. I think your frozen brain is melting now to allow entry of thoughts from non Dinka. Now you have come to realization that the oppositions like Riek, Lam are the ones would make South Sudan look better if given chance. The Dinka council of Evils have failed South Sudan entirely. The Dinka tribal gangs leader Kiir should be sent to life in prison for killing millions of men, women, children and elderly people for no reason.

  3. Gatdarwich says:


    Yes, Killer Nyankiir and Jenges Council of Evils must be held accountable for the ongoing genocidal war in South Sudan. Changing SPLA name to SSDF won’t save them because it is the same Dinka–tribal-genocidal regime which is hell-bent to terminate non-Dinka tribe in South Sudan.

  4. Samuel Atabi says:

    Yes, Mr Editor, a snake remains a snake even when it sheds its skin. As expected, they are flipflopping about SPLA rebranding. They might have realized that Nyandeng and Son might take back that now tainted brand. Rebranding by nature is not cheap. They will have to change their stationaries, uniform, vehicle signs etc. They are broke.

  5. Dear: Author Mr.Samuel Atabi

    I read what you said in the written article. Him,by himself alone,President Salva Kirr,he should change too SPLM ruling party into South Sudan People party(SSPP)

    Changing SPLA to South Sudan Defence Force(SSDF),it does not make a sense at all! To restructure of government deparments,it should have been done first in the parliament by South Sudanese Legislatures in the South Sudan National Assembly(SSNA).He is on keeping doing wrong matters in the country from one to another! He created 28-states before! The states,he created,they had been no development at all! at this point! People are facing very many problems!

    Sincere Healing Anger!



  6. Roberto Kasongo says:

    Samuel Atabi,
    Nothing really changes with the restructuring of the SPLA. 99 out of 100 of SPLA are form ethnic Dinka tribe. This is just a name change. Members of Kiir’s tribal army will continue to kill unarmed civilians. Clueless Salva Kiir is obsessed with control and power because this is rooted in his blood. It is a cultural thing and it is extremely hard to change. The tribal regime of Kiir does not have money and he wants the International community to assist him financially.

    Roberto Kasongo ( Bana Equatoria )

  7. Tungnyuka says:

    A very well written piece. I am a Kenyan but I follow SS events closely because it is a country of my ancestors. Believe me foreigners will not solve your political and economic problems, you have to sort out this thing among yourselves. In the meantime, you northern neighbors must be laughing and saying, “didn’t I tell you, they are not ready for independence” the same way the Queen of England is talking about Zimbabwe.

    • Eastern says:


      Your current “Kenyan” leaders don’t have Kenya at heart; your ancesters may have come from “Sudan” but the geographical location known as South Sudan is not permissive of alternative views; which your current crop of leaders in Kenya are edging towards!

      No wonder, it was [only] from Africa that slaves were taken!

  8. False Millionaire says:

    How so daring are u to misread Mr Atabi’s great article and come up with a contradiction to surprise the forum?
    If Riek,Lam and the rest of the likes protagonists couldn’t be useful to themselves under Garang according to Mr Atabi’s account,why do u think they would be useful to RSS and masses if u aren’t intending to be rediculous?

  9. Please Mr.Tungnyuka

    There is fighting now in northern Sudan in central government in north in Khartoum.There is no peace at all! The same in South.There are problems political and socio economy.

    The foreigners you now talking about,they are from your country in Kenya.It is Kenya,the very one, who is plundering South Sudan to death! There is no country in Africa.Kenya closed the banks commercial branches in the South Sudan because after all,it had sucked the South Sudanese tax payers to nothing at this point! I knew what Kenya looks like!

    Next time,foreign bloodsuckers,will never and ever lick the sweat of South Sudanese tax payers at all!

    Sincere Healing Hard Anger!


  10. Samuel Atabi says:

    Dear Bentiu Ramanan,

    You are nearer to my intention than your pretentious distractor. Stay firm.

  11. False Millionnaire says:

    If the,”intention”,is an effort to bring Riek,Lam and the likes to power,that isn’t what’s the thème and the piece is a contradiction. But taking the context for what it isn’t,Mr Atabi knows less of Riek and Lam. That ignorance will spoil his fortunes before moving an inch in the path of progress.

  12. Fifth Eye says:

    This is what we are hearing and it is circulating around.

    Secret plans of Paul Malong exposed

    The past two weeks have been full of political bickering, rumors, accusations and counter accusations, purging and what have you. But for the most part, the public has largely been missed a great deal following the dismissal of Paul Malone. For those who are not privy with what is happening, be informed that General Paul Malong stands accused of the following charges:
    1. Treason
    2. Sabotage
    3. Mutiny
    Here is what the public does not know. General Paul Malong has been planning a military take over for a very long time until it became the talk of streets in towns and villages. He had put together all the plans to oust President Kiir by force, but luckily enough, his plan was uncovered before its execution and counter plans were put in place. This is the reason why he failed to mount a coup against President Kiir all this time. When he realized that his plan was discovered, he resorted to other tactical strategies to execute his plans by developing plan B and C.
    One of the strategies was that he funded the recent public demonstration in Juba. This was his plan B. The motive behind the demonstration was that he was going to used public confrontation with the police and other security organs to intervene on behalf of the people and take over the government. He wanted to use the style of President Sisi of Egypt who ousted Mohamed Morsi in the name of protection of civilian. When that failed because the plan was foiled by police and national security, his next move was going to be an open coup against the President where the army would confront the national security and he was certain of winning the battle because the army has the manpower and superior military hardware. However, the President was aware of his desperate plans to attempt a coup quickly and so he was relieved from his post as head of Chief of the army.
    But Paul Malong was not going to give up like that; he resorted to his plan C. As soon as the decree relieving him was announced on television, he left the same night heading to his home region of Northern Bahr El Ghazal. This was a clear act of mutiny against the government, but the bigger plan behind this mutiny was that he had the plan to go to Aweil and force General Santino Deng Wol of 3rd Division to join him and if Deng Wol refused, he would arrest him and detain him. His ultimate plan was to take control of 3rd Division and once he was firmly in control of 3rd Division, he was going to be joined by forces of Thiel Malual Awak and Agany Abdhal Bangi Ayii. The forces of Thiel and Agany are stationed on Sudanese territories north of former Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Warrap States and Abyei area. He was also going to be joined by Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of Darfur, and militia groups from Messiria and Rezegats.
    This combined force would allow Paul Malong to quickly overrun the whole of Bahr El Ghazal region. He was also hoping that Division 5 and Division 6, which are stationed in Western Bahr El Ghazal and Greater Lakes area respectively, were going to split and he would be joined by a big chunk of the forces from these two divisions. This was a very elaborate plan, everything was fully in place. His alliance forces of Thiel, Agany, JEM and militia groups of nomadic communities of Kordufan and Darfur were going to join him as soon as he was in Aweil. The fifth eye is monitoring their next move after the forceful return of Paul Malong to Juba.
    Unfortunately, everything went wrong for Paul Malong because President Kiir and his security were not sleeping, he was stopped in Yirol with a real threat of being attacked and destroyed if he ever attempted to leave Yirol. He was forced to come back to Juba where he is currently staying under the watchful eyes of the government. This is the truth behind Paul Malong problem with Kiir government.
    The public has been fed with lies to make it like President Kiir has abandoned his “good friend.” Paul Malong was not Kiir’s friend, he was arc enemy. If Kiir did not discover his plan early, he would have killed President Kiir and take over power. Paul Malong’s covert activities, according to South Sudan Transitional constitution, military code of conduct and SPLA Act, amount to (1) Treason because he planned to join forces with enemies of the State,(2) Sabotage because he used money to funds demonstration against the government he was working for so that he could use it as a pretext to take over power, and (3) Mutiny because he ran away from Juba soon after he was relieved with his guards and heavy weapons.
    For those who advocate for his release, you now know why Paul Malong may not be released to leave Jube or South Sudan because once he gets an opportunity to get out of South Sudan, he would immediate announce his rebel group which would be joined by forces of thiel Malual Awak and Agany Abdhal Bangi. He would also cause havoc along the border by encouraging militia groups of messiria and Rezegat to continue attacking border areas in order to cause instability and he would chase away the government of Lol from Raja using JEM forces which are in the area. But most importantly, he would encourage serious desertion in the army because he has planted many loyalists in armed forces. President has dealt with his situation in a very smart way so far but he still has too much work to do to put to rest the threat from Paul Malong.
    Unless President Kiir decides to give amnesty to Paul Malong, he will likely face court martial. And if he goes to military court, he will face serious charges which could result in one of the two scenarios: life imprisonment or death sentence. The public should distance themselves from the case of Paul Malong and President Kiir because the issue is not as simple as it appears.

    The writer is based in Juba and has decided to withhold his name due to the sensitivity of the matter.

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