Ex-general forms rebel group to topple S Sudan leader
A former South Sudanese general has announced the formation of a new rebel group aimed at overthrowing the government after more than three years of civil war.
Lieutenant-General Thomas Cirillo Swaka quit last month issuing a stinging indictment of President Salva Kiir’s regime, which he accused of carrying out a “tribally engineered war”.
On Monday Swaka declared the creation of his National Salvation Front, abbreviated as NAS, and called on the people of South Sudan “to rise up and topple the Kiir regime”.
“The National Salvation Front is convinced that to restore sanity and normalcy in our country, Kiir must go; he must vacate office without further bloodshed,” his statement said.
Swaka, former deputy chief of the general staff for logistics, said Kiir should be “removed from power by all means necessary.”
The resignation of the influential and respected general was a blow to Kiir’s government and army, which are increasingly dominated by the president’s Dinka tribe.
Swaka is an Equatorian from a previously peaceful part of the country that has come under government attack in recent months.
He has accused Kiir of pursuing “ethnic cleansing”.
The extent of the former general’s political and military support – both in South Sudan and in the wider region – is unclear.