The SPLA-IO and SSOA troops currently awaiting deployment as part of the Necessary Unified Force have not received salary since graduation in August 2022, as their SSPDF colleagues smile over a month’s salary, military sources said.
Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel, the interim spokesperson of the SPLA-IO said their forces have not been paid salaries – a situation he blames on alleged reluctance of the top leadership to deploy the soldiers, but which has been termed as a “simple financial error from National Transitional Committee”, by SSPDF spokesperson.
Col Lam Paul Gabriel said the forces including SSOA troops are not in the government’s pay roll, depriving them of salaries despite being graduated.
“They are not receiving any salaries, even before they were graduated, they have not been receiving up to today, they are not yet in the system and not able to receive anything,” Lam told Eye Radio.
“All the opposition soldiers, not only the SPLA-IO, including SSOA. We thought that, after the graduation of these forces, after handing them over to the national army, they are supposed to be receiving their salaries but now, they are not, so that’s what’s happening.”
Col. Lam said the soldiers have been surviving without salaries, forcing them to engage in charcoal making to earn them and their families a living.
Asked if he has been receiving his salaries as senior person in the SPLA-IO, the Spokesperson said he depends on incentives to the mechanism members.
Mr. Lam however disclosed that, he last received the incentives in 2019 besides that paid by the Ministry of Defense.
“Since I came to Juba, all I get is incentive, that’s when it is given to the mechanism members, and that’s what I get but the last time I got incentives for the mechanism was in 2019,” the opposition officer said.
“I also work in the Ministry of Defense, so when I work there, I only receive incentives as well, not salary.”
He said they have no choice since the top leadership “shows no symbol of nationalism” on the welfare of their forces.
“We are not yet entitled to salaries, so what we do is just continue doing our job and doing what the country needs, that all we are doing, it is a kind of voluntary job at the moment that we are doing.”
“It’s voluntary because you are not paid for it. These are soldiers, they are trained, they have been in the bush before and they have been surviving cutting charcoal, selling them, that’s all they have been doing.”
“Some of them go the villages to go and cultivate. Imagine, these are not only for themselves, but they also have families, they have kids to be paid in schools. People who are in the top positions, they don’t want to deploy them, now what do we do? We continue struggling like that.”
On his part, SSPDF Spokesperson Maj Gen Lul Ruai Koang confirms that the opposition forces have not been paid, citing a “simple” financial error by the National Transitional Committee.
However, Gen Lul said the matter has reached the attention of the Command and that soon, a supplementary budget will be submitted to enable the opposition forces get paid along their SSPDF counterparts.
“Yes, it is true they are not being paid along their counterparts from the SSPDF. I think it was very simple financial error. On the graduation, they were not budgeted for by NTC,” said Lul.
“After a Republican Decree was issued effecting the graduation on the 30th of August, the Republican Order should have been translated into action by budgeting for opposition forces by way of submitting supplementary budget but for some reasons, it was not done by NTC.”
“As a result, they were left out. But it came to the attention of the command, and I am very sure a supplementary budget will be submitted so that they are paid along with their counterparts from the SSPDF.”
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