“In exercise of the powers conferred upon me under article 153(2) of the Transactional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011AD, read together with section 13b of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army Act 2009, I General Salva Kiir Mayardit President of the Republic of South Sudan and Commander in Chief of the SPLA do hereby issue this Republican Decree for the relieve of Gen. James Gen. Hoth Mai from his position as the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army SPLA Chief of General Staff with effect from April 23, 2014AD,” the decree read.
Gen. Hoth Mai comes from the Nuer second largest ethnic group in South Sudan. He was appointed to the position of the SPLA Chief of Staff before the secession of South Sudan in 2011. He also replaced then chief of staff Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak who is currently on trial for treason charges. Oyai is among several ex politicians accused of being involved in over throwing Kiir’s government last December.
Kiir also replaced Gen. Paul Mach, the Director for Military Intelligence with Gen. MarialNour. There are no reasons outlined for the sacking of the two top army officers but sources within the government attribute it to the several setbacks incurred by the army in recent months on the on-going civil war on the northern part of the country.
Hoth Mai was sacked after the rebels took control of three key oil towns in the northern part of the country; Bentiu, Mayom and Renk. The United Nations on Monday accused the rebels of massacres carried out in Bentiu in which estimated over 200 people belonging to different ethnic back grounds were killed.
The army had earlier on explained that internal conspiracy carried out by some SPLA loyal to the rebels within the government forces are the main causes of the defeat of the SPLA by the rebels. The sacking of Gen. Hoth is received with mixed reactions, creating tension in the capital Juba.