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Events leading to the formation of Sudan People’s Liberation Army/ Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLA/SPLM) in July 1983


By Brigadier General Mawien Mathiang Gor-popularly known as Mawien Jesh


  1. Organizations, which contributed to the events

For the purpose of this article, we will mention some of the organizations, which contributed to the mobilization of masses and led into the fighting before the formation of the SPLA/SPLM in July 1983. Some of these organizations are follows:

  1. National Action Movement (NAM)
  2. Juba-Wau-Malakal (JWAMA)
  3. Anyanya Two (2)
  4. South Sudan liberation Movement (SSLM)
  5. Former Anyanya officers and other South Sudanese officers in the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF)
  6. South Sudanese members of Sudan Communist Party (SCP)
  7. Diaspora Group
  8. Movement for Total Liberation of South Sudan (MTLSS)
  9. Contributors to the Events in the above organizations:

1 National Action Movement (NAM)

National Action Movement was formed by revolutionary intelligentsia who were living and working in Juba in the mid of 1978. As an underground Movement, the goal was to mobilize the masses of our people to stage a revolutionary struggle with ultimate objective of liberating and establishing a sovereign socialist oriented state of South Sudan.

From 1978 to 1983, the NAM concentrated its political activities among students, revolutionary intellectuals, peasants and workers in the greater regions of Equatoria, Bahr El Ghzal and Upper Nile.  Most of the mobilized groups were sent to Bilpam, where Anyanya two was operating under General Gordon Koang Chol and those who joined Anyanya two operatives in Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile.

When war broke out in Bor between Battalion 104 under the command of Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol and government forces led by Col. Dominic Karsiano, most of our NAM members joined Battalion 104. The force subsequently moved towards South Sudan-Ethiopian border. In the process, these NAM members became part of the revolutionary Movement, the SPLA/SPLM, when it was formed in 1983.

The following people are the founders and leaders of NAM:

Late Benjamin BOL Akok, Late Samuel Gai Tut, Late Mathew Ubur Ayang, Late Othwon Dak, Late Prof Arkangelo Bari Wanygi, Late Lual Diing Wol, Late Akuot Atem de Mayen, Tartisio Ahmed Majan,  Mayom Kuoc Malek, Anthony Ayok Chol, Atem Garang de Kuek, Late Sir Anei Kelueljang, SGT Mawien Mathiang Gor, Daniel Abuthok, Taban Deng Gai, Young Paul ,Dr Amon Wantok, Akech Chol,

Moses Mojwok, Chol Victor Bol, Late Marko Chol Maciec, Late Costa Lual Secondo,  Tor Deng Mawien, Kuol Mayang Juuk, Jurkuc Barac, Lotongol, Eli Magok, Late Dut Dongbil, Kok Aoplo, Maker Moses, Valentino Tokmac, Late Dhol Acuil Aleu, Aleu Ayeny Aleu, Late Mario Muor Muor, Chol Muorwel, Col Agasio Akol Tong Akot, Gregory Vasili, Lino Jenario, James Lual Deng Kuel, Late Thomas Korou Tong Aleu; Late Padol Malong Padol, Late Riny Ngot Riny, Akot Macuar Akot, Giir Ngot Riiny, Garang Mabil, Late Tito Tong Ajak, James Hoth Mai, Nhial Deng Nhial, Late Kon Deng Thiep, Mawien Mathiang,

Late Akuei Deng Kiir, Chol Deng Alaak, Arop Monyaak Monytoc, Teresa Modesto, Late Deng Deng Akot, Late Dut Majak, Late Hassan Hussein, Amos Garang Akok, Oyai Deng Ajak, Kenedy Gayin, Late Dr Juac Kejok, Late Eng Manyang Deng Dhieu, Luchano Karlo Deng, Late Joseh Malath, Late Peter Nyot Kok, Late Fr Nero Lopei, Late Joseph Mac Musakap, Atem de Gak, Osman Ronald Abraham, Paul Tipo Liech, Dr Obol Oje, Yoanes Yor, Karlo Kuol,  Baak Ruon Rach, and the list continues.

  1. Juba-Wau-Malakal ( JWAMA)

JWAMA was established in 1980s by a group of students who were studying at various Universities in Arab Republic of Egypt, led by James Wani Igga. The objective was to mobilize people of South Sudan to fight for separation of South Sudan from the North.

Upon graduation of these members who were in Egypt, they subsequently joined SPLA/SPLM. The names of Some of these members are listed below:

James Wani Igga, Deng Alor Kuol, Martin Elia lomoro and Capt James Jada,

  1. ANYANYA TWO (2)

As Addis Ababa Agreement was being implemented, wide disappointments and discontents were mounting across South Sudan. The integration of Anyanya Forces into Sudan Armed Forces and their transfer to the North caused serious concerns within the Anyanya ranks and files.

Many Anyanya combatants became suspicious about the honesty of their Northern colleagues. This is what resulted into mutinies in different parts of South Sudan.  These mutinies led to the formation of Anyanya two in many parts of Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile.

Some civil servants and students organized themselves and became part of Anyanya two.  Some of these contributors are listed below:

Late Miakol Deng Kuol, Pieng Deng Kuel, Late Bakat Aguek, Late Lual Riiny Lual, Paul Malong Awan, Late Akok Deng Chom, Late Bol Nyanwan, Late Abdalla chuol, Gordon Koang, Late Stephen Dual, Late Gauel Nyangkuany, Simon Obiyng Deng, Anthony Bol Madut, Late Tong Akok, Late Ring Madut Ring

Late Frances Malek Deng Kuc, Ajeck Amet, Athian Teeng, Jaal Malith Jal, Late Deng Manyiel, Late Bulbek Deng, Late Anyar Mayol, Late Aguek Adiang Marik,  Butrous Bol Bol, Late Tong Arabiy popularly known as son of God,  Magok Makok and  Chol Muorwel among others.

  1. South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM)

Most members of this group were undergraduate students at Universities in Sudan in addition to that were students from Secondary schools. The group was dominated by young Marxist-Leninist’s ideologues, which were expiring to establish a sovereign Socialist State in South Sudan.  These students rebelled and established their base in Boma Mountains of former Upper Nile Region.

These young Marxists include: Comrades Lakurnyang Lado,  Nyacigak Nyacluk, Pagan Amum Okich, Bangut Amum Okich, Joseph Baa, Josepph Victor Bol, Thomas Korou, Thomas Gordon Muortat, Tito Akol Tiit,  Charls Nyawello, Peter Gatkuoth Nhialk Run Rach, Felix Elijah, Hernry Herman, William Wour, Gordon Mabior Tut Ngong and many others.

  1. Former Anyanya officers and other South Sudanese in Sudan Armed Forces (SAF)

The Addis Ababa Peace Agreement of 1972 was not supported by many south Sudanese because it did not address the aspirations and problems of the majority of South Sudanese.  These aspirations were including the right of people to Self-determination and in some cases South Sudanese were calling for the separation of South Sudan from Sudan/North Sudan.

Some patriotic Anyanya officers and those ones in SAF were totally against the Agreement. These officers started to organize themselves clandestinely within the Sudan Armed Forces in order to stage another rebellion, which will achieve total separation of South Sudan from Sudan.

These officers, include: Late Col John Garang de Mabior, Col. Emmanuel Abur Nhial, Late Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, Late Major William Nyoun Bany Machar, Late Major Gai Tut, Late Major Arok Thon Arok, Capt Salva Kiir Mayardit, RTD Capt Cigai Atem Barac, Capt Alfred Akuoc, Major Arkangelo Adim Anei,

Late Col Francis Ngor Makiec, Col Madut Bak, Late Col Paternal, Col. Bang Dhol, Late Col Martin Kucburo, Late Col Martin Makur Aleyou, Late Col Martin Manyiel Ayuel, Late Col Al Thahar Bior Ajak, Col Daniel Awet Akot, Brigadier Albino Akol Akol, Gen Kuol Amum, Major John Koang Nyoun, Late Wison Kur Chol, Col Martin Mawien Dut, Late Capt Peter Awech and Late John Akot Dor and many others.

  1. Members of Sudan Communist Party (SCP)

These revolutionaries were active and committed members of Sudan Communist Party (SCP).  They had a vision for South Sudan.

This vision was to establish a socialist oriented independent South Sudan. Their vision was fundamentally contradictory to the official position of the SCP.  Hence the rationale was not publically articulated the vision.

After years of underground work and encounters between these members and the NAM leadership, the two came to agree on organizing the masses of our people to fight for the establishment of a socialist oriented republic of South Sudan.  The group resolved to join the National Action Movement (NAM).

Among these revolutionary comrades were: Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba, Maker Benjamin Bil, Eduard Lino Wuor Abyei,  Gabriel Acuoth andTartisio Ahmed.

  1. Diaspora Group

These groups were in exile for a very long time were mainly living in African countries and others in Europe, North America,  countries in Asia and in some liberal Arab countries.  In Europe they were mainly based in London, UK.

These freedom fighters included, such as comrades: Alfred Lado Gore, Late Gordon Muortat de Mayen, Late Dr Akech Mohamed, Late David de Gach, Late David de Kok Pouch, late William Kon Bior, John Luk Jok, Dr Riek Mahar Teny, Dr Marial Benjamin, Late Benjamin Bol Akok, Wol Mayar Ariech, William Deng Deng commonly known as Deng Anyanya and Late Prof Gabriel Gieth ,just to mention a few. 

  1. Movement for Total Liberation of South Sudan (MTLSS)

Members of this Movement were mainly from former Anyanya officers who were either absorbed to Sudan Armed Force in addition to those who were totally left out and those who were absorbed to other organized forces.

 III. Some pertinent remarks

The people of South Sudan have suffered immensely during the two wars of liberation: Anyanya war from 1955 to 1972 and the SPLA/SPLM war from 1983 to 2005.  In both struggles, we lost millions of human lives in addition that it led to economic degeneration with a lot of collateral damages   With all these difficulties, our people developed unbreakable resilience, which made them to achieve their independence.

Now the people of South Sudan can enjoy the most important thing in life; the right of any human being to be free and develop his/her talents in a free and sovereign state.   It is therefore reasonable to claim that the struggle and sufferings of our people were worthy of the price of what they fought for, in four decades.

In December 2013, the South Sudanese political and military elites who were in pursuit of wealth and power have plunged the country into a senseless war, making our people to undergo another suffering, it happened only two years after the independence in 2011. .  Now the current war has kept our social fabric far apart.

The question being asked now by citizens is that, whether people struggled to bring an independence in order to come and fight over resources and power to make people suffer again? The answer is simple that was not the objective we liberated the country.  The ordinary people are against the war.  Therefore war must stop now and start developing the country.

The 12 September Peace Agreement signed in 2018 by the warring parties is a giant step in the right direction.  Parties to the agreement must work day and night to implement it expeditiously by creating an atmosphere of trust and reconciliation.  Let us own this peace so that we deny the internal and external enemies of their wishes for continuing the current war in South Sudan.

The history narrated here only represents the views of the author and do not reflect the views of Juba Monitor

For comment he can be reached through the following cantacts: 0921720245/0914512253



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