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South Sudan president says changed SPLA name to represent will of people.

August 4, 2017 (JUBA) - President Salva Kiir said the change of the name acquired by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) during the war of liberation struggle was necessitated by the need to represent the will of the people.

South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (Photo: Paul Banks/UNMIS)

The decision to change the name of the SPLA to South Sudan People's Defence Forces (SSPDF) was reached at the end of the sixth command council conference of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), which ended with several resolutions.

"We have come to the time that we have to reorganize and professionalize the army. This call has been here for a long time and nothing has been done. we have to pass resolutions that are on the table today that the army name will have to be changed to respect the will and the desire of South Sudanese," said Kiir in a speech at the military meeting broadcast by the state owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday evening.

"There have been proposals from some commanders that the name should be changed to South Sudan Army (SSA) and others suggesting that it has to be South Sudan People Defence Forces or SSPDF. I think the SSPDF sound better because we are representing the will of the people," he further said.

President Kiir on Wednesday chaired the closing conference of the Command Council of the Sudan People's Liberation Army at which several resolutions were passed, including the change of change of the SPLA to a South Sudan People's Defence force (SSPDF).

However, the change will be effective when the SPLA Act of 2009 is amended.

The SPLA, said President Kiir, will cease to exist as the command "tries to modernize the army to an international standard". The head of state he received complaints and reports from people saying that the SPLA doesn't represent South Sudan as an independent country and therefore should be changed.

His views at the closing session of the conference were later passed as a resolution and the commanders unanimously endorsed the change of the name to South Sudan People's defence force.

Last May, the President Kiir issued a decree restructuring the army, renaming the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) to South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF). However, the presidency very quickly the change of name saying the decision intended only to restructure the national army.


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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:Aug 4, 2017
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