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No grudges against those behind my fall – Buay

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Thursday, December 5, 2019

Ex-soldier Stephen Buay in an interview with Eye Radio at his home in Juba on Wed, Dec 4, 2019 | Credit | Okot Emmanuel

The former military general who was recently demoted and discharged from the army says he holds no grudges against those he perceives to have had a hand in his fall.

Stephen Buay was recently stripped of his ranks of a Major General, demoted to a private and finally “disgracefully” discharged in a ceremony held at the army headquarters in Juba.

This followed a court verdict which found him guilty of offenses during operations, disobedience of lawful orders and violation of standing orders according to three different articles of the SPLA (now SSPDF) Act, 2009.

But Buay has often argued that his charges were fabricated by military and community leaders who allegedly have personal problems with him dating back to the 1990s.

These, he said, include the incumbent Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak, and military and political leaders from his community, notably Tut Gatluak, presidential advisor on security affairs.

Last week, Stephen Buay wrote an open letter to President Salva Kiir, saying he would remain a humble and loyal citizen.

In an exclusive interview with Eye Radio at his residence in Juba on Wednesday, Buay reiterated that he holds no grudges against anyone who may have implicated him during his ordeal.

“I got different calls from many people saying that ‘Stephen,now that you have been dismissed, don’t go to the bush,’” he said.

“I will prove them wrong for those who think I will rebel, even for those who think I want to create another rebel group. If I wanted to defect I would have done it when I was in the 1st infantry and 5th infantry divisions.”

Buay caught some illness during his time in detention. His lawyer Philip Anyang had appealed to the higher officers to allow him to seek treatment.

He now says he wouldn’t leave the country if his condition worsened “because people will perceive it” as a rebellion.

“I will treat myself within Juba so that people see me. I want to assure everybody that I am not going anywhere,” he added.

Buay’s associates and those who have worked with him in the army describe him as a humble man and remember him as a good soldier.

The Chief of Defense Forces, Gabriel Jok Riak, also described Buay on the day of his dismissal as a dedicated soldier.

Meanwhile, Stephen Buay appealed to those still carrying arms against the government to end the violence, and participate in the peace process.

“Peace is what we want; not everybody will have a position. For instance now, how many ministerial positions are there? They cannot accommodate everybody. Let’s us come and sit and solve this issues amicably or friendly,” he added.

The 5-year conflict was triggered by power wrangles, with political and military leaders aiming for access to public coffers.

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