17 May SPLA army renamed ’South Sudan Defence Force’
South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Monday night issued several decrees reinstructing the army, renaming the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) to ‘South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF).’
In a decree read out on the state-owned television (SSBC), Kiir reinstated Maj. Gen. Dau Aturjong Nyuol into active military service.
Aturjong changed side from the SPLA army in 2014 after the outbreak of war in 2013, but he later returned to Juba, where he defected from the SPLA-IO faction led by former vice president Riek Machar in July last year.
In a separate decree, Kiir restructured the army into three institutions to be headed by commanders. The new changes structured the army into the ground force, air force and air defence and navy units.
According to the presidential decree, the new structure complies with the resolutions of the fifth SPLA Command Council Conference in June 2016, which resolved to structure the army and rename the SPLA.
The June committee was tasked with the review of the structures of the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs to be in accordance with the SPLA white paper of 2008.
Kiir also restructured the leadership of the SPLA general staff to consist of the Commander in Chief, the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, the Chief of Defense Force, the Deputy Chief of Defense Force and Inspector General.
The decree abolished the previous structure in which there used to be deputy chief of general staff and replaced the position with assistant.
The new structure rebranded the army in a way that any department would be headed by an assistant to the chief of defense staff.