Gen. Gatdet in Profile: South Sudan Will Never Be The Same!
April 27, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — Speaking during the Opposition’s leadership conference last week in Pagak, Maj. Gen. Peter Gatdet Yak [Jundi Iraq], reiterates in the strongest terms possible that the country will never be the same.
The notorious fierce fighter believes that the current conflict will be the last of its kind and never again shall South Sudan return to war.
General Gatdet, who is currently the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operation in SPLM/SPLA [in Opposition], pointed at his seated colleagues, mostly majors and brigadier generals, and said “these are the men who fought the war for this country”.
Gatdet believes that all the internal and external conflicts fought in the country for the last ten years under Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit were fought by none other than the generals who have now defected to the leadership of South Sudan’s former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny; currently leading the rebellion.
“To say the truth, all the wars of Kiir were fought by none but these generals. There was never a single time that a military general stood up to fight Salva Kiir wars and left these generals seated.” Gatdet said.
“We have left none in Juba who can claim to have fought Kiir wars more than any of these generals” He stressed.
Gatdet, who was being translated from Nuer to English, assured his comrades that they are fighting the final war in the country.
“There is no other war that will be documented in this country by Kiir. This is our last war” said Mr. Gatdet Yak
Gatdet further reiterates that the current war has falsified many propaganda about the past liberation, citing generals like Kuol Manyang who claim to be superior than others warlords.
“During the war that we fought in Bor, they all came even Kuol Manyang, thinking that being a Minister of Defense he was above everyone but when he approached the front line it didn’t not take him very long to realize that he was nothing but just a regular man like any of us” Gatdet exclaimed.
The notorious general, trusted with vast military skills, has been regularly deployed at the most volatile parts of the country during and after the CPA such as Abyei, Upper Nile, and Jonglei states.
Gen. Gatdet was deployed in 2008 to retake Abyei from the Sudanese forces, which he did in less than seven days. After various assignments, Gatdet felt out with Salva Kiir government over deployments issues, tribalism and corruption in the government. He left the government and fought for more than a year until August 2011.
In response to a presidential amnesty in August 2011, Gatdet aboard a Jetlink plane to Juba to negotiate the terms of the agreement with Salva Kiir’s government but only to find himself in prison.
As a consequence, a rebel group that he founded in April 2011 called the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) that is currently allied to Salva Kiir government under Gen. Mathew Puljang, refused to integrate into South Sudan army and instead assigned Maj. Gen. James Gai Yoach as their new leader.
Gatdet was later release in early 2013 after spending more than one year in prison to lead the government forces in disarming the notorious white army, and the Yau-Yau-led COBRA rebellion in the most volatile parts of Jonglei State.
Fresh from Prison, Gatdet was assigned as a deputy commander of the 8th Division but later rise to lead the division.
Gatdet’s Latest Defection
At the onset of the conflict on December 19, 2013, Maj. Gen. Gatdet defected with majority of the troops of his division. He slain his deputy and declared a full scale war against the government of Salva Kiir.
For another four weeks, Gatdet’s 8th division, backed by thousands of white armies with insufficient light weapons, fought and defeated government battalions in a series of intense battles towards the national capital, Juba.
By January 18, 2014, General Gatdet forces had repulsed major encounters by thousands of government troops from Warrap, Lake, Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria states.
While battling the South Sudanese army, which constantly reinforced by boats, on land and in air; Gatdet’s ground forces were constantly bombarded by the Ugandan warplanes that used anything in their disposal to frustrate an advancing rebels’ troops towards Juba through Jameza.
Uganda was later accused by the United Nations of having used the internationally banned cluster bombs during the battles.
Shown on BBC footage, Gatdet used strategic guerrilla tactics to overwhelm his opponents. He deployed his forces in small units that were widely scattered but in constant communication across the bushes on Juba-Bor road.
More than three senior government generals and hundreds of soldiers were killed. Many vehicles and weapons were also destroyed.
Between January 11 to January 18, 2014, Uganda deployed a force believed to be an approximate of 24, 000 troops to recapture the town of Bor.
To study the strength of the emerging Ugandan troops as alleged, the Commander in Chief of SPLA-IO ordered Gen. Gatdet to progressively withdraw the forces from Bor town.
Three months later, Gen. Gatdet was transferred to Unity State at the beginning of April, 2014. Within less than two weeks, Gatdet, in collaboration with Maj. Gen. Koang Chuol Ranley, captured the capital, Bentiu, and slain hundreds of South Sudanese and Sudanese rebels in the town.
Government generals such as Carlo Kuol were captured alive while others were either wounded or killed instantly.
He was accused by UNMISS of having slain nearly 200 Darfur Muslims in a Mosque in Bentiu, a call for which he has been sanctioned for by the United States and European Union.
Gatdet, considered as a charismatic leader and a good mobilizer, has switched sides many times and fought for and against various rebels groups, Sudanese and South Sudanese government.