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SPLA/M emblem
SPLA/M flag

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and its political wing, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) – known collectively as Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) – is a predominantly Christian Sudanese rebel movement turned political party. Based in Southern Sudan, SPLA/M fought in the Second Sudanese Civil War against the Sudanese government from 1983 to 2005. In 1989, it joined the main opposition group in Sudan, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which in January 2005 signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the Sudanese government. SPLA/M has since had representatives in the Government of Sudan, as well as being the main constituent of the Government of the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan.

It was led by John Garang until his death on 30 July 2005. It is now led by Salva Kiir Mayardit who is also the President of Southern Sudan and Vice President of Sudan. In 2007, by presidential decree General Dominic Dim Deng, a national war hero, was appointed Minister for SPLA Affairs. The first political leader of the SPLA. A year later General Dominic Dim lost his life, together with 21 other senior Officers, in a mysterious plane crash, in May 2008. Late Gen. Dominic Dim was praised for his strong ethics and principles, and in his efforts to transition the SPLA from a guerrilla army into a regular army. He was buried together with his wife, in a illustrious ceremony, in the SPLA General Headquerters, Juba.

Contents

History

SPLA soldiers

The SPLA/M as a rebel group was formed in 1983 by rebellious south Sudanese soldiers of the Sudanese Army based in Bor, Pochalla and Ayod (Bor Mutiny). These joined remnants of the Anyanya rebels of the First Sudanese Civil War based in Ethiopia. It was founded by Colonel Dr John Garang, Captain Salva Kiir Mayardit, Major William Nyuon Bany and Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol. It fought against the governments of Gaafar Nimeiry, Sadiq al-Mahdi and Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir in what is now called the Second Sudanese Civil War. SPLA/M's declared aim was to establish a democratic Sudan with it as the leading party in control of the southern areas. The war has been largely described in religious and ethnic terms, and also as a struggle for control of the water and oil resources located in the southern and the western Sudan.

In the early 1991, the SPLA-Nasir faction led by Dr Riek Machar and Dr Lam Akol attempted to overthrow chairman Garang. The attempt failed but led to widespread fighting in the south and the formation of other rebel groups, such as Kerubino Kwanyin Bol's SPLA Bahr-al-Ghazal faction. These internal divisions hampered negotiations with the government. SPLA-Nasir, renamed itself SPLA-United and then transformed itself, with substantial personnel changes, into the South Sudan Independence Movement/Army. Several smaller factions signed a separate peace agreement with Khartoum in April 1997 and formed the United Democratic Salvation Front (UDSF).

The Sudanese government accused Uganda and Eritrea of supporting the SPLA/M. The group is alleged to have operated on the Ugandan side of the Sudanese border with Uganda at the southern limit of Sudan.

In 2005, a treaty between the SPLA/M and the Sudanese government led to the formal recognition of Southern Sudanese autonomy. The political wing, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (Al-Harakat Ash-Shaabia Le Tahreer As-Sudan) is now a political party. It joined the government as part of the peace agreement, gaining about one-third of government positions. On October 11, 2007, the SPLM withdrew from the government, alleging violations of the peace agreement; this raised concerns about the future of the agreement.[1]

Structure of SPLA

Top Leaders of the Sudan People's Liberation Army:

  1. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, Commander-in-Chief of SPLA
  2. Gen. Paulino Matip Nhial, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of SPLA
  3. Lt Gen. Nhial Deng Nhial, Minister for SPLA Affairs
  4. Lt Gen. James Hoth, Chief of General Staff


During the Second Sudanese Civil War the SPLA provided training teams to the large groups of boys who fled between 1983 and 1990. John Garang named these the "Red Army".The SPLA strength right now is 40,150 and have 50,000 infantry weapons. Their weapons are AK-47s, Type 56s, M1918 BARs, Metric and inch-pattern FN FALs, Dragunov SVDs, AK-74s, G3A3s, IMI Galil ARs, C4 charges and various types of land mines and various other infantry weapons. Most of the weapons come from the Black Market and were smuggled from Uganda and Ethiopia.

US support

In 1996 the US sent nearly $20 million worth of military equipment through Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda to help the Sudanese opposition to overthrow Bashir (president of Sudan). US officials denied that the aid was destined for the SPLA, but there were reports elsewhere that elite US forces were working with the Sudanese rebel army.[2][3]

References

External links

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