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SPLA General Obuto Mamur Released from Detention

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By Isaac Vuni

January 1, 2009 (JUBA) — A high-ranking commander in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) was released in Juba on Wednesday after more than a year and a half in detention.

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Maj. General Isaac Obuto Mamur stands beside the President of Southern Sudan Government, Salva Kiir Mayadrit at Kator cathedral Juba.

Maj. General Isaac Obuto Mamur Mete was released and reinstated to his position as deputy chief of staff for political and moral orientation. He appeared publicly for the first time in Kator cathedral in Juba, accompanied by his wife Mary and twelve children.

Mamur, an Equatorian commander, had been arrested on March 20, 2007 on charges of administrative misconduct. He faced an indeterminate court-martial and reportedly was released following a decision by the military court—however, informed sources insist, more to the point, that in recent weeks he held private meetings with SPLA Commander-in-Chief Salva Kiir Mayardit, the president of Southern Sudan.

The released general hailed President Kiir for a decisive decision and appealed to all his followers and supporters to maintain calm and continue praying for unity of Southern Sudanese at this crucial time of decision-making for or against unity of the Sudan.

“I’m not afraid of military detention. If I fought for 21 years to free ourselves from oppression and exploitation by Arabized northern Sudanese, why not accept detention by fellow comrades with same objective?” he posed.

Supporters rejoiced at his release, and the parish priest of St. Theresa Cathedral, Fr. Caeseur Lokani, described the event as miraculous and a New Year gift to all Southern Sudanese for celebrating the 53rd anniversary of Sudan’s independence.

Members of the Equatorian community had lobbied for Mamur’s release, including parliamentarians who voiced their concern during Kiir’s recent visit to Torit.

Benaiah Duku, a senior member of the Equatorian Association in the United States, expressed satisfaction that the ordeal had ended peacefully. Duku had taken part in a delegation that discussed the matter with SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum in Washington in September 2007. The organisation also took it up with Minister of Presidential Affairs Luka Biong Deng and other senior officials.

A more recently formed group began organising members of the diaspora to take part in the Gen. Isaac Obuto Mamur Initiative: A Quest for Justice. Their advocacy helped win the general’s release, said Steve Paterno, a Sudanese-American leader in the group.

But ultimately it was Kiir who took the initiative to release the detainee, said Paterno. He also observed that the decision to release the general was timed to help consolidate unity within the south ahead of Sudan’s 2009 elections, as well as restore a renowned military figure during a period of continuing political uncertainty.

According to Duku, who once chaired the Equatorian Association in the U.S., the detention of the general suggests that individuals can use the justice system in Southern Sudan “to perpetrate their own hidden agenda on their own colleagues using the system.”

“The SPLA was a rebel movement, which is directed by commanders and commanders have their own differences,” he said.

“In the making of the SPLA there are regional commanders. And these commanders get their support from the region,” added Duku. “When such leaders are in trouble with the system and the accusations against them are not made up clearly to the public, then it becomes very easy for one to speculate that these leaders are targeted, either from above or maybe by their own colleagues, whether it comes to vying for positions or influence in the system.”

At issue now, said Duku, is whether Mamur will be effective in his position or whether he has already become irrelevant. He indicated that the general’s main concern now will improving security—four people were killed by unknown gunmen as he was released, including Mogga Loro, son of former governor of Equatoria from the Bari tribe, Sarah Kasara Adui Madi from Moli, Bosco Tabule from the Kakuwa tribe and Musa Lado from the Lolubo tribe.

Supporters are also concerned about the commander’s health and they will try to get him medical attention abroad.

Mamur is from the Otuho (Lotuka) tribe and Torit town, where SPLA was headquartered during parts of the 22-year north-south civil war.

The SPLA uprising began in 1983 when John Garang, then the head of the army’s Staff College in Omdurman, joined guerrillas and the 105 battalion in mutinying and fleeing to Ethiopia.

The CPA established the SPLA as the Sudanese army in southern Sudan while the Sudan Armed Force is considered as the northern Sudanese army. Both are parts of the Sudanese army. The Joint Integrated Units formed in accordance to the peace deal are supposed to the nucleus of the future united army if southern Sudan opts to remain part of a united Sudan.

Additional reporting by Daniel Van Oudenaren in Washington.


Written by torit1955

January 2, 2009 at 5:47 am

3 Responses

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  1. It wasn’t good to upset Maj. general Obuto Mumur for no proper evidence Accusation and relevant document found which can bid Maj.general was heroic and kindness of Maj. general Obuto that led SPLA to little more breath during 1993-98 when SPLA base was about to clip up in Equatoria. Most higher ranked in SPLA were defacted from SPLA and they made more influential to soldiers to go with them and Maj.general Obuto didn’t accept that and really he fought against those dishonest until now, SPLA still stand firm as it was. Why was he arrested witout proper documents found? Not him alone upseted but also those who suffered alot with him are upsetted too.


    Simon Lok.

    Lok T. Simon

    September 6, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    • I have had enough of your bullshit..I was with Mamur and he was my friend..maybe I will come back..look out you cowards..Scott..Yes be afraid..


      October 13, 2010 at 5:19 am

  2. i am completely not happy about my father’s house arrest. His contribution to spla movement was of great improvement towards the victory for all south sudanese people to achieve present day’s freedom. he put his life on the line of duty to fight for the liberty for all southerners suffering political instability but now, he becames the prisoner of his own volunteerism instead of achieving honor for his heroism. Is this a politic or corruption? I need the government to back into the ways constitution is been pursued and make reinstatement for the new laws otherwise we will have no future if our next generation is going to grow up under this political era.

    ohide felix juma

    February 19, 2010 at 6:17 am

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