South Sudan's military chief dies

2012-08-22 22:10


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Juba - Powerful South Sudanese military commander Paulino Matip, a long-time rebel warlord turned army chief, has died in hospital in Kenya, officials said on Wednesday.

"We have lost a champion of peace and reconciliation - we will miss him," South Sudanese Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said. "He was undergoing treatment in Nairobi. He was ill for a long time."

Matip, from South Sudan's oil-rich Unity state, led a fearsome guerrilla army faction of his Bul Nuer people during Sudan's 1983-2005 civil war, a conflict that ended in a peace deal that paved the way for the South's independence last year.

During the civil war he split his forces from the South's then-rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) to side with Khartoum.


He later switched sides again, and was instrumental in bringing key militia forces back to the SPLA under a 2005 peace agreement, ending up as deputy commander-in-chief of the SPLA - now the official South Sudanese army - second only to President Salva Kiir.

"He has made his personal contribution despite earlier differences that caused the split in the SPLA," Benjamin said. "He brought all the armed groups under his command into the SPLA to reunite."

War-ravaged South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, is struggling to rebuild and integrate numerous militia factions, but Benjamin dismissed fears that Matip's death could see factions break away.

"These people are pessimists. Reconciliation has gone very well, from 2007 up to now these rebel groups have come back. There will be no more splits within the SPLA," he said.

Matip's body will be flown back to South Sudan to be buried, he added.

No official announcement has been made as to who succeeds him within the army.

Read more on:    south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Meet instagram star, Pumpkin the racoon

With 300 000 followers and growing Pumpkin is winning over the internet!



9 richest pets
The cats that cost R35 000
Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy
13 guilty pets

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

In order to really connect to your feelings, you need to quieten your mind. Let go of expectations and connect to the moment more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.