Juba, 10 April 2020; In a shocking presidential decree issued this evening, President Kiir removed General Johnson Juma Okot aka JJ Okot, General Okot is removed from the chief of Defense forces and appointed to Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and European Union.
General Okot has been replaced by Gen Santino Deng Wol who is under US sanction. There is no apparent reason given for the removal of General JJ Okot. General Okot had been on the country's military top job barely less than 10 months. He was appointed General Chief of staff of SSPDF in May 2020, General Okot was appointed to the helmet after President Kiir in Presidential decree removed Gen Gabrial Jok Riak.
Though is no apparent reason given to the removal of General Okot, however, sources within SSPDF who spoke to this publication in the condition of anonymity said the removal of JJ Okot could be related to his reluctancy to deploy soldiers to combat youth upraising in EES against the Dinka cattle herders who invaded Lokai and other areas of EES in the recent months. The same source further said General Okot was appointed in 2020 to convince the SPLA-IO in EES to join the government, he said President Kiir is, however, disappointed after realizing Okot has actual zero influence to convince the SPLA-IO in EES including his Acholi tribemate.
The sources further said General Okot has been listening to the grievances of soldiers, in an opening meeting with the soldiers on some occasions he told the soldiers he cannot deploy the army to kill civilians this seemed to have angered Kiir leading to the dismissal of General Okot.
In the same decree, President Kiir appointed the now sacked chief of defense forces General OKot to head South Sudan's diplomatic mission to the Kingdom of Belgium. It is not immediately clear how the head of the army will be appointed to the post of ambassadorial without any diplomatic experience.
In related Presidential decree Mr. Kiir also removed Nhial Deng Nhial Minister in the office of the President, replacing him with long time career diplomat Dr. Benjamin Barnab Marial, special envoy to Rome peace talk.
President Kiir also promoted his long-time Director General of National Security Services (NSS) Gen Akol Khor Kuc to the rank of Lt General.
President Kiir also removed the country's deputy defense minister, replaced him with General Chol Thon Balok as deputy Defense Minister and veteran affairs.
Former deputy chief of staff for logistics Gen Malek Ruban Riak appointed ambassador to Eritrea, he is under US Sanctions and accused by enough project, General Malek has been accused of corruption and running a multi-dollar lucrative business including money laundry.
Meanwhile, President Kiir appointed Gen Thomas Duoth Guet, to the post of ambassador to Kuwait.