Matip Was Unifying, Says South Sudan Spokesman

This article was last updated on May 25, 2022

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The government Spokesperson Dr Barnaba Marial said that the late Matip will be remembered for his legacy of unity and reconciliation.

 “We will remember him as a father who had worked to bring reconciliation, peace and unity among his people. We will also remember him as a son of this country that fought for the liberation of this country,” Marial told the press.

Matip passed away yesterday at Karen Hospital, Nairobi after battling with diabetes and blood pressure.

He died shortly before he was flown to US for further close medical attention.

Marial explained that, Matip’s illness had been long and before passing away on Tuesday, he was flown to the US for medication in 2008.

Taban Gai, the Unity State Governor exclusively told the press that, his body will arrive Juba on Friday before it is flown to his home county in Unity State for burial.

He said Matip’s death “is sadness not only to Unity State but to South Sudan.”

Marial who is also the National Information Minister reinforced that Matip was one of the South Sudanese leaders who initiated efforts for the liberation of the country which started during the Anyanya I and II before the SPLA struggle started in 1983.

It should be remembered that Matip remains as one of the loyal militia leaders after defecting from SPLA in the 1990s re-joining after the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.

He did not go back to stage another revolution against the South Sudanese government compared to other leaders militia groups.

Paulino belongs to the Bul section of the Nuer people, he joined the Anyanya separatist force during the first Sudanese Civil War between 1955 and 1972, but after the peace agreement of 1972 he did not join the Sudanese army.

In 1975 he again became a rebel in Bilpam and moved to Ethiopia.

Paulino became a member of Anyanya II and in 1985 returned to Unity State armed and supported by the government.

He was opposed to the SPLA which had attacked Anyanya II in 1983 fighting with Brigadier Omar Al Bashir, then as an army officer.

In 1991, Paulino joined Riek Machar’s faction.

After signature of the Khartoum Peace Agreement of 1997, Paulino’s forces were technically incorporated into the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF). In September 1997 he tried unsuccessfully to become governor of Unity State.

After the SPLA war ended in January 2005 the status of the SSDF was not at first clear. On 30 June 2005, Paulino Matip met with Dr. John Garang in Nairobi to discuss the composition of the new army and the position of SSDF fighters in the army.

In 2006 Paulino signed the Juba Declaration of January 8, 2006 and was integrated into the SPLA as deputy commander.

More than 50,000 of Paulino’s forces were integrated into the SPLA and other organized forces but he retained some former SSDF soldiers as personal bodyguards.

However, tension remained high in October 2006 when Paulino aired accusations that his troops were being sidelined in the appointments being made within the SPLA.

In May 2007 Paulino had to dispel rumors that he had died after seeking medical treatment in South Africa.

In August 2008 he visited the United States of America for medical treatment.

In May 2009 Paulino was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant General.

Paulino was reported to have passed away in Karen Hospital, Kenya after battling with long illness of diabetes and blood pressure.

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