Which Impact does Small Arms Proliferation Have on South Sudan's National Security?

Analysis of the Emergence of Unknown Gunmen

Academic Paper, 2019

84 Pages, Grade: A









1.1 Introduction
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Purpose of the Study
1.4 Objective of the Study
1.5 Time Frame
1.6 Justification
1.7 Research Hypotheses
1.8 Definitions of Terms
1.9 Chapters Outline
1.10 Areas of Study
1.11 Chapter Summary

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Concept of SALWs Proliferation
2.3 Concept of Unknown Gunmen
2.4 Small Arms Proliferation in Eastern and Central Africa
2.5 Poor Recruitment
2.5.1 Tribal based Recruitment
2.5.2 Impractical Commissioning and Promotions
2.5.3 Poor Integration of Other Armed Groups (OAGs)
2.6 Armament and Militarization of Security Sector
2.6.1 Impact of Militarization
2.6.2 Lack of Arms Control
2.7 Poor Command and Control of Forces
2.7.1 Overlap of Duties in the Security Sector
2.7.2 Compromise in Duties within the Security Sector
2.7.3 Corrupt Deployment of Officers and Personnel
2.7.4 Failed Series Disarmament Exercise
2.7.5 Unascertained Parade of Forces
2.8 Corruption in the Security Sector
2.9 Continuous violations of Amnesty by the Other Armed Groups
2.10 The 2013 Intra SPLM War
2.10.1 Political Classes; Educated v. Uneducated in the SPLM
2.10.2 Assassinations
2.10.3 Induced Killings
2.11 Tribalism and Social Stratification
2.11.1 Tribalism
2.11.2 Social Stratification
2.12 Venomous Corruption in the Government
2.12.1 Breakdown of the Rule of Law
2.12.2 Loss of 4 Billions USD and the 75 Senior Government Officials involved
2.13 Influx of International Criminals and Mafia
2.14 Conclusion

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Data Collection
3.4 Instrumentation
3.5 Informants (Sampling)
3.6 Data Analysis and Interpretation
3.7 Ethical Consideration
3.8 Conclusion

4.1 Prologue
4.2 Upholding the Rule of Law
4.3 Compliance and Commitment to Treaties
4.4 SALWs Supply and Demand Dynamics
4.4.1 Supply Aspects of SALWs
4.4.2 Demand Aspects of SALWs
4.5 Hypotheses Testing
4.5.1Will to enforce the Rule of law
4.5.2 Bending the Rule of Law
4.6 Assessment of the Objectives
4.7 Conclusion

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Summary
5.3 Conclusion
5.4 Recommendations
5.4.1 Upholding the Rule of Law
5.4.2 Credible Disarmament, Demolition and Demobilization
5.4.3 Fair Recruitment and Regular Training in the Security Sector
5.4.4 Credible Screening and Downsizing the Security Sector
5.4.5 Augment of Command and Control (C2)
5.4.6 Proper Integration Process
5.4.7 Enactment of Anti-Discrimination and Sectarianism Law
5.4.8 Renaming Peace Commission to National, Peace Unity and Reconciliation Commission
5.4.9 Establishment of National Strategic and Defense Board
5.4.10 Further Research



This Research Project is dedicated to the victims of Unknown Gunmen who lost their dear lives in a limbo and to my dear late father Gordon Muorwel Mayom who always until the time of his departure on 20th May, 2018 (R.I.P) fought against armed violence in our community of Lakes States and campaigned that self-enrichment should be acquired through education, use of brain for that matter other than the use of guns for acquiring wealth and as such inspired me to explore the academic heights and to carry on the fight against SALWs proliferation in order to create an enabling environment for peace in South Sudan.


This Research Project is a figurative testimony of hard work, dedication, perpetual support of great people who want the Republic of South Sudan to be subdued from the sounds of guns and to wipe out in totality the issue of unknown gunmen. I would like to pay tribute to Dr. Ter Tongyik Majok for his commitment to seeing young South Sudanese prosper academically by inserting much of his time on academic guidance, nurturing and couching, furthermore I would like to acknowledge the everlasting guidance and support by Maj.Gen. Rin Tueny Mabor Deng. I wish to thank colleagues and friends who helped me in editing this work. However, I would wholeheartedly appreciate the role played by my beloved wife Margaret Abang Ayiei for leaving the children abroad and came home to be by my side and encouraged me to speed up my research prerequisite to obtaining my masters; she has been a great personal helper throughout the tabulation of this research.


The study wholly focuses on the impacts of Small Arms and Light Weapons Proliferation on the National Security and the Emergence of Unknown Gunmen in South Sudan. The country had been hit by strings of armed conflicts such as inter communal violence, target killings, assassinations, cattle raids, insurgency and rebellions, highway robberies etc. The socio-political and economic situation the country is going through is seen as a benefactor of the SALWS Proliferations aiding the prevalence of Unknown Gunmen.

The research however seeks to answer how? Where? Why? When? What are the causes of SALWS proliferation and their impact on the National Security; it examines the role of the National Army known as the South Sudan People’s Defence Force, the National Security Service and the Law Enforcement Organizations in the proliferations and how their failure to maintain law and order in the country had contributed to the emergence of Unknown Gunmen. It further explores the role played by political and tribal leaders especially in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the ruling party in the country and across the country.

Nevertheless, it critically analyzes the political, social and economic impacts leading to the emergence of Unknown Gunmen and concludes that the lack of political-will by the leaders emanated in the socio-economic crumple, rampant corruption and tribalism in the government institutions and in the Armed Forces, National Security and Law Enforcement Agencies had played a greater role in the impediment of the rule of law which thereof resulted into rampant insecurity and sped up the emergence of Unknown Gunmen


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Small arms proliferation in South Sudan over decades has been on rapid rise, according to South Sudan Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control; South Sudan had for several decades been the theatre of conflicts, an established destination for illicit small arms and ammunition. There are between 1.9 to 3.2 million Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) circulating in South Sudan;1 this however causes a great shock in the security sector as it poses a great national security threat. However the ongoing conflict and the devastating economy in South Sudan fuel the emergence of Unknown Gunmen. Nine out of every ten deaths reported across the country are due to gun violence. This research will exuberantly outline the causes of Unknown Gunmen, identify the routes of small arms proliferations and recommends possible ways to restrain them through the restrictive measures on proliferation, political will, enhancement of the rule of law and economic reform ideals.

1.2Problem Statement

South Sudan since its inception as a country on 9th, July 2011 recognized by the United Nations as a nation-state number 193rd of its Assembly of Nations and States, experiences a bumpy political dispensation characterized by rebellion, corruption, nepotism, tribalism and favoritism. The Presidential decrees reshuffling government from time to time led to a lot of political differences among the ruling elites. The 2010 Sudan General Elections had seen a lot of SPLM Senior Cadres (e.g. Gen. George Athor and Gen. David Yauyau) who were alienated and sidelined by the closer allies to the President who influenced him and the SPLM Political Bureau to remove them from the nomination through the electoral colleges. This influenced them to rebel and formed their factions to fight against the government.

The failure of SPLM to wisely solve its internal conflict had led to the 2013 Civil War, which the government branded as a Coup de tat, the international community denied because of the lack of substantial evidence prompting the Supreme Court to acquit the then accused now the Former Detainees known as FDs or SPLM Leaders as they call themselves. According to Lesley Ann Warner; there are about 50 rebel factions also known as the Other Armed Groups in South Sudan since 20052. Some of these have been integrated into the army while the remnants recurrently form new armed groups. The arms proliferations occur in South Sudan through these rebellions3. From 2013 up-to-date organized guns crimes grow rapidly to the extent of individuals targeted and killed at broad day light on the streets, government avenues as well as homesteads.

The civil war had caused the influx of hundredth of thousands of arms freely blooming into the hands of mafia groups, civilians, foreign absconding convicts and mercenaries. These groups include those who are hired to target specific individuals on socio political and economic grounds. The underlying causes for unknown gunmen are generally attributed to the economic collapse, targeted individuals, revenge, robbery, tribal hegemony i.e. along tribal hatred. In 2017 Unknown Gunmen claimed the lives of 138 Civilians, 13 SPLA officers and 6 National Security Service Officers4. The presence of arms in the hands of almost every civilian open all the doors and windows for Unknown Gunmen rendering South Sudan a failed state, most respondents believe that security of every citizen is only in the hands of God and confirmed that the last stanza of the National Anthem ‘Oh God Bless South Sudan’ is the hope and reason for their safety and waking up alive every morning

1.3Purpose of the study

Number of Unknown Gunmen is growing at the fastest rate possible in South Sudan, there is death from time to time connected to this crime. This research studies the main causes that led to emergence of the Unknown Gunmen in the Republic of South Sudan and recommends possible ways to solving it. Small Arms and Light Weapons’ proliferation being the gateway to the Unknown Gunmen should be combated thoroughly; thus this study is randomly chosen and targets the civil population, victims, eye witnesses, the convicts the government and non-governmental actors; it is an open research.

It will enhance peace and stability within the Republic of South Sudan, the Region and beyond. The presence of arms in the hands of everyone significantly hampers national security and affects the region as well i.e. since 2013 up-to-date there is an influx of small arms and light weapons in South Sudan; neighboring countries like Uganda, Central Africa Republic, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Congo are spending much budget on their national security since South Sudan crises are a tactical springboards for small arms cartels. It further targets the, concerned security sector authorities, the location chosen are the areas with armed violence in South Sudan.

1.4 Objective of the study

The general objective of this study is to closely work with the citizens and Security Sector to identify the possible areas and amenities of Small Arms and Light Weapons proliferation, build a network and establish a baseline for the control and prevention. It will summarily focus on;

I. Definition of both SALWs Proliferation and Unknown Gunmen
II. Examination of security sector and how it aids the emergence of Unknown Gunmen
III. Contribution of political leaders on the emergence of Unknown Gunmen
IV. Critical analysis and recommendations on how to curve the issues of Unknown Gunmen.

1.5 Time Frame

This study was conducted within one year, from July 2018 to June 2019. This had been enough time which for gathering research materials, formulated hypothesis to review the literature and finalized the research by the end of June 2019.

1.6 Justification

The proliferation of small arms in South Sudan has created a state of anarchy in these ways;

I. Killings every day and night within Juba suburbs and across the country by unknown gunmen
II. Inter Communal violence
III. Cattle rustling and raiding
IV. High Way Robbery
V. Targeted killings

However, the upshot of this study is intended to provide a guideline for policy makers on small arms control in the Republic of South Sudan, it seeks to ditch out the loopholes and proposes the ways to patch them.

1.7 Research Hypotheses

H1 Enforcement of the Rule of Law enhances the national instrument and boosts the law enforcement effort to combat the small arms proliferation and emergence of unknown gunmen.

H2 Negligence in enforcement of the rule of law boosts small arms proliferation and emergence of unknown gun men.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Unknown Gunmen: Refers to hit men or vigilantes who killed their victims on economic, political or tribal line, whose identity is not known, they are either or not known to their victims

Security Sector: Refers to the Military, Police, Prisons, Wildlife, Fire Brigade and the National Security Service Forces in South Sudan they are; SPDF, SSNPS, SSPS, SSWS, SSFBS and the NSS.

Gelweng: Refers to the then SPLA allied armed Civilians of the Dinka Cattle Keepers

Jecboor: Refers to the Nuer armed Civilians also known as the White Army used by the Militia groups as forces to wage war against the state, they were responsible for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 atrocities committed in Bor, Malakal, Bentiu and Bailiet.

Shareocracy: Is a unique type of democracy created by President Salva Kiir Mayardit where he from time to time shuffles the government in order to ensure that every tribe had a presence in the government and the inclusion of the other Political Parties in the government formation while they lost elections in 2010

Law Enforcement Agencies: Refers to the South Sudan National Police Service, South Sudan Wildlife Service, South Sudan Prisons Service and the South Sudan Fire Brigade Service

Budha Mafnu: Refers it is a hate speech coined by Equatorians to refer to Dinka. It is an Arabic word which means illegal goods; the Equatorians along the highways of Equatoria regions stop passenger’s vehicles in order to search for Dinka and execute them.

MTN: Is another hate speech by the Equatorians against Dinka branding them that they are everywhere like MTN Network.

1.9 Chapters Outline

The Research Chapters are outlined as follows;-

1.9.1 Chapter One

Introduction of the Research

1.9.2 Chapter Two

Literature Review

1.9.3 Chapter Three

Research Methodology

1.9.4 Chapter Four

Critical Analysis of the Study Findings

1.9.5 Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

1.10. Areas of Study

This research will be conducted in the following areas

1.10.1 The Ministry of Interior

1.10.2 The Ministry of National Security Service

1.10.3 South Sudan Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control

1.10.4 Ministry of Defence

1.10.5 States

1.10.6 Internet based Data system on Small Arms and Light Weapons Proliferation.

I. Did the failure of SPLM to resolve its internal crisis lead to this war which opened doors for arms proliferation?

1.11 Conclusion

The above chapter gives the overall introduction to the research and sequence in which the chapters of the whole research project are designed. It gives a rough background to the Impact of Small Arms Proliferations on South Sudan National Security: emergency of Unknown Gunmen; this gives an insight synopsis to the genesis of Unknown Gunmen in South Sudan. It further digs out the root causes and how unknown gunmen challenges the ability of the Security Sector to combat it The presence of weapons in the hands of nearly everyone in the community challenges the national security. As chapters are outlined in this chapter, it is crucial to cite in this conclusion briefly what each chapter entails; chapter one is the introduction to the research, chapter two, however will provide extensively literature review which covers the role played by Security Sector in the Small Arms proliferation with regards to the emergence of Unknown Gunmen in South Sudan, it will examine how the then SPLA now SSPDF aided the civilians by giving them guns to protect themselves and their properties from the militia groups that were used by the Sudan regime against the SPLA/M throughout the liberation Struggle from 1983 to 2005. The SPLA voluntarily formed what was then called Community Police given names by communities such as Dinka ‘Gelweng’ which means ‘Cattle Protector and Nuer ‘Jech Boor’ which means ‘White Army’.

Furthermore it will provide how Other Armed Groups integration during the CPA interim period in 2006 and pardon by the President of the Republic had played a greater role in the small arms proliferation and the emergence of Unknown Gunmen, the Integration had brought unethical soldiers to the SPLA who then turned to commit atrocities in the name of the army. During the integration process those officers who were reduced from higher ranks that they gave themselves then deserted and formed series of armed groups facilitating the illicit sales of arms for their self-enrichment.

The literature review will finally give an insight about the failure of SPLM as ruling party to combat its internal power wrangling which led to the 2013 war. Now South Sudan had been at war within itself for the last six years, this chapter further examines the weak links created by the conflict amongst the security organs and the law enforcement agencies, as well as devastating economy, small arms proliferation is at the highest stake as the national security is hampered a great deal. It is exuberant that there is no strict control over the borders of South Sudan and as such, there is an uncontrolled influx of illegal arms into South Sudan.

Chapter three will outline the research methodology i.e. research design, target population, sampling, design/procedures/techniques, sampling size, data collection instruments, data collection procedures, data analysis and ethical consideration. Chapter four will embark on the critical analysis of the research objectives. Chapter five will therefore reflect upon observations and recommendations made as ways to curve the emergence of Unknown Gunmen. Its purpose is to be a definitive final word on this topic in research; rather it should be used as a platform from which future endeavors into small arms proliferation and emergence of Unknown Gunmen would be steeply controlled.



2.1 Introduction

This literature reviews the impact of Security Sector and the 2013 Intra-SPLM War on the small arms proliferation and the emergence of Unknown Gunmen in South Sudan. Security Sector refers to the Military Forces, National Security Service and the Law Enforcement Agencies. Therefore Armed Forces refer to a Country’s military forces especially its army, navy (riverine in the case of South Sudan) and air force5. Armed Forces in the pretext of South Sudan refers to national army composed of Ground forces, Riverine and Airforce whereas Law Enforcement Agencies refer to the law enforcement agencies such as the Police Service, Prison Service, Fire Brigade Service and Wildlife Service6.

The Formation of South Sudan People’s Defense Force known as SSPDF stemmed from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement which was founded on May 16th, 1983 at the Bor mutiny with the first bullet shot by the then Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol of Sudan Armed Forces 104 Battalion who later on became the Deputy Commander in Chief of the SPLA/M; It was later followed the same day by Major William Nyuon Bany of SAF 105 Battalion mutinying in Ayod. The SPLA/M was founded on the communists’ doctrines and principles which enhanced her support by the USSR, Cuba and their communists’ allies i.e. Libya and Ethiopia. SPLA/M got its armaments from Russia, Cuba and Libya on the trade off for championing the communism opposed to capitalism of the western world led by USA.

SPLA/M started as a movement by Sudanese who were not happy with the ruling elites and was founded on volunteerism, every Sudanese regardless of race and religion was freely welcomed to the movement and the spirit of comradeship was established as a common good principle of togetherness in communists spectrum. However if you had declared your interest in support and joining SPLA/M you are addressed as Comrade. The rebellion started within the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and later on grew as a movement that recruited a lot of civilians into its ranks and files. It brought people of the Sudan from all walks of life together as one under the stewardship of Comrade Col. Dr. John Garang de Mabior

The enigma of Anyanya One and mighty power in the acquisition of machine guns was still fresh in the minds of the most civilians, as the SPLA was growing and expanding in the size of its personnel, the civilians voluntarily followed the students who were indeed acquainted to the root causes of waging war against the regime in the North. To the civilians acquiring a gun means power to protect yourself and property from your neighbors or any sort of threats, for example a former SPLA soldier respondent from Yirol(a Dinka) who currently is a cattle keeper revealed that at his youth-hood in late 1980s went to Bonga to acquire a gun to come and protect his cattle from the neighboring Nuer of Panyijar other than fighting for the liberation of the people of South Sudan from the oppression. Although the military political commissars trained by the SPLA/M regime to indoctrinate the SPLA soldiers struggled to instill in their minds the reasons for taking arms; much of this knowledge evaporates as one returns home.

In malice of such political indoctrination, some soldiers deserted and returned home with the arms of the SPLA in the early 1990s; this marks the first window period of small arms proliferation in again after the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972 that demobilized a lot of Anyanya One soldiers and integrate the rest into the Sudan Armed Forces enabling a total disarmament and disbandment of the Anyanya One elements. The Security Sector has played a greater role on the emergence of Unknown Gunmen in South Sudan; most of the perpetrators convicted are from these units. Since the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Security Sector has witnessed a devastating lack of command and control over their personnel and officers; until today the parade of the SSPDF is not ascertained. The universal principles of command and control have been rendered repugnant by the commanders; desertion and commitment of atrocities by men in uniform have been left at large. The forces charged with law enforcement do not any longer enforce law but instead bend it. This chapter elaborately focuses on the poor recruitment, militarization of all forces, corruption, poor command and control in both Armed and Organized Forces.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement now a ruling party, was a political wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, it got its first international recognition as a Party at the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on 9th January 2005 in Nairobi Kenya being a party to CPA with the Sudan’s ruling party, the National Congress Party. The CPA then provided that the NCP rules the north whereas the SPLM rules the South which had to be semi autonomous government until after interim period of five years where South Sudanese would later decide in a referendum either to be an independent country or remain part of Sudan.

On July 9th, 2011 South Sudan became an independent country ushered by the SPLM as a ruling party, ever since the tragic death of Dr. John Garang problems within and amongst the SPLM elites never seized, the three camps namely; Garang Boys i.e. Pagan Amuom, Deng Alor, Nhial Deng, Oyay Deng Ajak, Gier Chuang and others who were accorded special status by Dr. John Garang as loyalists and educated elites, The Yei ( Kiir) Boys who stood with Kiir at the times crises developed between Kiir and Garang in 2002-2004 i.e. Aleu Ayieny, Telar Ring amongst others and the Nasir Faction of Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. Lam Akol, Taban Deng Gai amongst others got engrossed in power wrangle.

These groups had never been working for a unified SPLM Strategic Objectives, the Garang Boys and Nasir Faction groups call President Salva Kiir uneducated that cannot lead educated elites and tend to work hard to provoke failure in his leadership and the CPA, a lot of misbehaviour and failure in duties was shown in the cabinet at Khartoum during those days. The internal fights within the SPLM had seen both Garang Boys and Nasir Faction knocked out some Kiir’s Loyalists in 2007 at Yei Extra Ordinary SPLM meeting which dismissed Telar Riing and Aleu Ayieny from their portfolios in Khartoum where they served as ministers and SPLM membership.

When the duo were reinstated into SPLM and appointed to the cabinet, they worked harder to retaliate by penetrating and lured the President to sack the whole cabinet in 2013. It was evident that Pagan and Dr Riek Machar made clear their intentions to run for SPLM chairmanship at the then would be SPLM national convention so as to compete against President Salva Kiir, this however provoked the President and accept the plot for sacking of the entire cabinet by the duo. The Nasir Faction and Garang Boys demanded an amendment of the election process which provides show of hands as a means of election and were defeated when it was put to vote at the SPLM NLC meeting on 14thDecember 2013. This plus the sacking provoked and prompted them to rebel against the government.

However, the literature review explores the impacts brought about by the 2013 war on the national security and the emergence of Unknown Gunmen in South Sudan, it covers tribalism and social stratification the war brought about, it further explores how this war had been used by the ruling elites especially the parties at war to cover up corruption infringed on the country especially the listed seventy five officials found to have embezzled 4 billion USD and scrutinizes socio-political and economic impacts that led to small arms proliferation and the emergence of Unknown Gunmen. It further covers the concept of proliferation and define the Unknown Gunmen.

2.2The Concept of Proliferation

Proliferation is the movement of arms from one country to the other or from group of individuals to the other; proliferation is either through legal acquisition or illegal acquisition. It is legal in a sense that a country procures its armament legally from the producing country for arming its army which later on proliferate by illegal ways. E.g. South Sudan National Security Service procured arms from Israeli Weaponry Industry in 2013 and immediately after a few months the 2013 War broke out, some officers, personnel and men in possession of those weapons rebelled; this has led to proliferation of such weapons which are now found in the possession of the civilians in the cattle camps.

Illegal proliferation is by the sell and resell of weapons by cartels that are not legitimate or license guns dealers, these individuals smuggle weapons into the country and sell them illegally to the civilians. Geneva, Small Arm Survey Organization sums it up that; SALW do not proliferate themselves rather, they are sold, resold perhaps stolen, diverted and may be legally or illegally transferred several times7.

2.3 Concept of Unknown Gunmen

Unknown gunmen; refers to men or women who secretly target individuals, killing them on political and economic drive or along tribal hatred either known or not known to the victims. However unknown gunmen on economic drive are those who for the purpose of winning bread take lives of others they spot having any little money or food stuff, they at times attack and kill without intention but fear of resistance and self-defense by the victim, such perpetrators are on hunger influence and do not possess any malice aforethought but a mere hunger necessity.

Unknown gunmen on political drive are those who for the sake of a political scandal cover up target individuals involved in the scandal or those that are feared to be on the stake of revelation of such scandal to the public, this is a type of killing with premeditated act, it is designed in a way that the victim is caught off sight at a site where nobody who can later on recognize the perpetrators is available, it is well planned and time. It is also killing of oppositions to subdue them from opposing the leadership or killing the supporters of the government to threaten them to abandon the support for the government and join rebellion; these are well and highly coordinated. This is carried out either by hired assassins or kinsmen of the said scandal monger or loyalists of either sides.

Moreover social stratification and tribal hegemony had given birth to Unknown Gunmen; socially there is a tribe that is targeted in order to dismantle its social bond on the perception that they are dominant and believed to be exterminators of the other tribes or that in their social fabric they appear to be more superior than the others, this has created hatred and hegemony leading to killings of individuals from the said tribes, i.e the Dinka in the whole of Equatoria are killed along the highways calling them ‘ Budha Mafnua’ meaning illegal goods or ‘MTN’ means they are everywhere. This type of killing is grouped under the Unknown Gunmen because the victims do not identify their killers whereas their cause of action is always done on hit, run and hide but not by way of insurgency that pronounces its intention.

The Concept of Small Arms and Light Weapons according to the UN Penal of Government Experts on Small Arms; SALWare those ranging from clubs, knives, machetes, and weapons below the caliber of 10mmetres8. This however brings us to an understanding that Small Arms are weapons manufactured for military specification and designed for use by an individual whereas Light Weapons refer to weapons used by several or group of people as a crew; this comprehensible concept has brought us to a detailed study of the emergence of Unknown Gunmen. Therefore Unknown Gunmen could be persons who used Clubs, Knives, Machetes and any other lethal weapon to accomplish the desire as mentioned above.

2.4 Small Arms Proliferation in Eastern and Central Africa

The post-colonial era had been witnessed by a rise in the possession of arsenal across East and Central Africa Regions. During the struggle for independence by the countries in the aforementioned regions, movement groups were formed to fight against colonization; such groups were founded by intellectuals or professionals. Although there were rebel groups formed i.e. Maumau of Kenya they did not impact much on the proliferation nor did they open the way.

However, the post-independence era had witnessed a significant rise in the small arms proliferations, the colonial masters before granting independence to the various countries they colonized, ensured to have planted hatred within and amongst the native elites i.e the Sudan, conflict between Southerners and Northerners, which erupted just four months before independence on August 18th, 1955; rendered small arms proliferation at the highest speed it was smartly planned by the colonial masters to disorganize and dismantle peaceful coexistence of Southerners and Northerners. To colonial masters African continent was the potential market of arms as wars were already planted this was depicted in ravage coupe de tats at a wider spectrum across the continent.

Coupe de tat is a mode of small arms proliferation in such a way that the loyalists to the leader hoisted or defeated coupe attempters desert the army and form a rebel group and forcefully recruit civilians; this is how arms get into the hands of the civilians. The genesis of small arms proliferation in South Sudan is traced back to the Torit Mutiny of 1955 by the Anyanya One Movement. This Movement was formed to fight for independence of South Sudan from the north because of discrimination and marginalization by the northern brothers ‘Arabs’ It was an eye opening for arms acquisition by the civilians. The Anyanya One used to acquire arms from Congo and Israel

The ideology used by the Anyanya One for mobilization of Southerners to join their course was that every soldier that acquired gun will have to return to his homeland for mobilization in order to persuade the civilians to join the movement. Nevertheless upon the implementation of this ideology, some Anyanya One commanders went and created kingdoms in their homelands by arbitrarily arresting and abusing civilians, looting their properties and forcefully married other people’s women, this had prompted civilians to join the movement in order to acquire armaments to retaliate, acquire unruly resources and protect them using the very guns they acquired on purpose of liberation struggle.

A case study of small arms proliferation and show of masculinity behind the acquisition of arms in greater Lakes State which is a theatre of communal violence now stemmed from the Anyanya One Commanders of that time, in the persons of Andrew Makur Thou, Solomon Anyak Garang, Sygon, Jokoi Achom, Nanga Mariik etc. these notable commanders carried out terrifying atrocities and looted the people in their respective areas. Use of guns was a great shock to the entire population and only one personnel can terrorize the whole village then. From then until today the acquisition of guns has become a culture amongst the Lakers.

In East and Central Africa Regions small arms proliferation threatens regional peace, conflicts and incidents of cattle rustling involve countries like, South Sudan, DRC, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. According to Saferworld a UK based Non-Governmental Organization working on community security and safety in South Sudan, from 2016 – 2017 there are between 232,000 to 601, 000 illicit arms in South Sudan, their numbers vary according to states, i.e. Lakes, Jonglei and Warrap almost 80% households own guns. This had led to Unknown Gunmen incidents of banditry that claimed 107 lives between July 2017 and April 2018, just less than a year9. Cattle rustling at the same time had claimed lives of 200 people with 107injured10.

Below is the Contribution of the Security Sector on the emergence of Unknown Gunmen brought about by Security Sector, it explores how poor command and control, poor recruitment, corruption, militarization, poor integration of militia and rebel groups, impractical commissioning and promotion, series of failed disarmaments and unascertained parade had contributed immensely on the proliferations and aided it.

2.5 Poor Recruitment and Integration of Forces.

The history of the Security Sector of South Sudan could be traced back to the foundation of the SPLA in 1983, as mentioned earlier in this chapter; SPLA was founded by the Sudanese people to fight marginalization by the Northern ruling elites. As a rebel movement, its recruitment process was initially based on voluntarism; the founders of the SPLA were active service men in the Sudan Armed and other Regular Forces.

However, as time went by, the SPLA introduced conscription as a means of recruitment, it started by requesting the traditional authority especially chiefs to contribute forces from amongst their tribesmen in a systematic way of each family contributing one young energetic man. The chiefs from the Dinka tribe then cooperated and contributed forces across South Sudan to fight for the course of liberation from marginalization by the regime in Khartoum while the other tribes refused the respond that is why throughout the liberation struggle the Dinka became the dominant force of the SPLA. When the war got harder, the SPLA went as far as massive forced recruitment of civilians in Dinka territories, any young man found was captured and forcefully enrolled into the army and anyone who deserted thereof had his father or younger brother conscripted as a replacement or cattle taken as a ramification for escape. This type of recruitment brought into the SPLA unwilling personnel who until now in the army remained oblivious of the course for liberation struggle or know little about the conventional standards of the rule of engagement (RoE). Such soldiers easily lose focus and take law into their hands in the name of having fought for the liberation of this country which they believe other people who did not take arms and fight for are looting now.

On July 9th, 2011 South Sudan was pronounced by United Nations as an independent country accepted to UN Assembly of States and Nations number 193rd. The SPLA changed from a rebel group to a national army guided by the Constitution and the International Humanitarian Law; integration and reorganization was anticipated to kick off. There was enacted an armed forces law known as The SPLA Act 2008 which smartly embodies the conventional rules of engagement that requires transformation from a guerilla ideology to a conventional ideology. Recruitment guidelines based on conventional standards of military requirements were therefore embodied in the enactment.

It is worth noting that for anyone to enroll into the army according to SPLA Act 2008 subject to amendment now and other regular forces Acts, one must undergo a series of screening process which involves written examination and a minimum level of Secondary School Certificate this criterion had been trashed throughout all the batches recruited, trained and graduated across the board of Security Sector. During the recruitment processes the teams charged with recruitment do not observe any single rule thereof, the commanders and officers despite these rules penetrate the recruitment processes by forcing in unqualified relatives who later on graduate without having learnt anything apart from the military drill. Such recruitments bring into the Security Sector unqualified personnel who join the army for the sake of acquiring guns with malice aforethought. Their intention to acquire guns is to acquire power to suppress their personal enemies instead of the defence of the constitution, law enforcement and territorial integrity; most of these soldiers are the ones involved in the Unknown Gunmen spree.

A live example is the Mathiang-Anyor batch, this battalion is composed mostly of the street kids from Khartoum who after the independence were brought to South Sudan, their recruitment came as a call for massive mobilization by the youth to defend South Sudan from the eminent threat posed by the Khartoum regime after the capture and fall of Panthou Arabised as Heglig, the recruitment process was based on voluntarism which no one denies at that time immemorial; it is a duty of any citizen on call or without to defend his/her territorial integrity in the times of emergency as stipulated by the Art. 4 of TNCoSS 2011 Amended 2015.

In order to be consistent and without prejudice to the recruitment requirement according to the SPLA Act 2008 and conventional rules of emergency, this battalion should have been subjected to a rigorous screening in order for those who meet the criteria provided, to be accepted into the army. These soldiers are more of insurgents than men of the national army, they do not totally adhere to the RoE and most of them are the ones continuously committing crimes now in Juba. Mathiang-Anyoor conforms eighty percent of the convicts of unknown gunmen.

Another group involved in the commission of organized crimes are the Zalan Two/ National Call Officers and men who voluntarily joined the armed forces with proclaimed ranks, it is difficult to ascertain whether they are militia or insurgents; this group after the eruption of conflict in 2013 voluntarily came forward naming themselves Zalan Two with their officers called the National Called Officers mostly from Dinka tribe. They were without integration admitted into the ranks and files of the SSPDF. Some of them who are close to the top commanders had their ranks confirmed; this group had also been involved in the small arms proliferation.

In the Law Enforcement Agencies, the recruitment process is far beyond poor description for both personnel and officers, since the inception of the Republic of South Sudan, all these forces do not adhere to the respective laws guiding their institutions, in the Police Service especially the Crime Investigation Department, the recruitment was poorly conducted by the then commanders contrary to the provision of the Police Service Act which requires any Police recruit to have undergone crimes background check. Criminals and convicts from Khartoum Sudan found their ways into the CID with the crafted intention of pursuing their criminal intent by using the CID as a shield. Instead of conducting crime investigation they tend to perpetuate and abate crimes.

It has been evident that the organized crimes including Unknown Gunmen are crafted by some CID men; one unknown gunman who used to deal in taking Toyota hardtop five doors at gun point had been found to be a CID officer who is now facing charges of five counts of homicide. The recruitment in the Police, Wildlife, Fire Brigade and Prison Services are largely corrupted as that of the Armed Forces, such personnel do not value the ethics of the Law Enforcement Agencies.

Although the National Security Service is very organized, there is a group of personnel and men that had sneaked into the service, these were part of Mathiang-anyoor and soldiers from the Army and Law Enforcement Agencies most of who were involved in the organized gun crimes. Although they were later on put on training, they could not observe the work ethics expected of a security and intelligence personnel, never the less most of them have deserted the service and proliferated guns of the National Security Service to the hands of wrong people who commit atrocities with such weapons marked NSS/ISB.

2.5.1 Tribal-based Recruitment

This type of recruitment had been discovered as a means that brings in some incompetent soldiers based on their tribe, it is totally repugnant with the standing order that requires individual competitive will, it bends the requirement that anyone who wants to joined the Security Sector should apply and meet a certain requirements; although the strategic objective of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, SPLM stipulates observation of diversity, in contrary it affects the dire need to build a conventional Security Sector.

This type of recruitment came about as a pressure from other tribes claiming that Security Sector is dominated by Dinka and Nuer Tribes, however National Security Service had encountered difficulty in recruiting personnel and officers from other tribes as demanded by the later, most of the few that were recruited do not conform to the guidelines for recruitment. Moreover bringing in such people who have been tribally moved, weakens the institution as their allegiance is to the personalities from their tribes who recommended them other than to the institutions to whom they were recruited. During the 2013 war; such personnel and officers did not stand to defend the constitution and instead sided with their tribesmen and were involved in committing atrocities.

2.5.2 Impractical Commissioning and Promotion

In both Security Sector a wave of commissioning and promotion had caused instability amongst the officers and men across different ranks and files, according to the SPLA, National Security Service and any other Regular Forces Acts, for one to be commissioned as an officer, you must have enrolled as cadet through a rigorously screened recruitment process by having passed both written and oral interviews and finally medical checkups.

However, that had not been the case; some people find their way to cadet through recommendations by the commanders or big politicians without undergoing the due process as required, some do later on find themselves on the commissioning list together with those that had undergone cadet training and even worse become senior than those who did the cadets. Such officers and men mess up with the system and temper with the ethics and ethos of the respective forces, this discourages the spirit of work in those who have undergone the due process and anger usually leads them to desert the service which later on aids the proliferation of small arms.

In 2015 there emerged promotion entitled ‘ Loyalists’ the officers were selectively promoted both in the Armed Forces and National Security Service by the submission made to the Commander-in Chief of the SSPDF and all Regular Forces. Those promoted were just good boys to the Chieftaincy of Defense Forces and those around J1, this caused a lot of demoralization amongst the officers who were on the frontlines. Ninety percent of those promoted were in Juba which indeed raised a question that if those in Juba are branded as loyalists, what about those officers on the frontlines fighting to defend the constitution and the regime? That however prompted some officers to join the rebellion and some involved in the targeted killings of individuals they believed to be Dinka who are perceived to be the dominant tribe mistreating every other tribe in the government for most of the promoted were Dinka, this had aided the small arms proliferation.

The August 2018 promotion in the National Security Service and the Armed Forces as published by the UN Security Council of Experts has caused another raw across the spectrum of ranks, others were doubled, tripled promoted and others place in front within the ranks, this contravenes the legal provision on promotion which indicates that a batch should be promoted as whole after every two years of active service according to the SPLA Act 2008 and Laws of other regular forces, with the exception of those who performed extra ordinary achievements in regards to their respective service who should be placed on special promotions. Selective promotion and undue promotions demoralize officers who turn to sit back and compromise the national security.

Nevertheless, most of the Unknown Gunmen strikes occur at the day light at some crowded places and the security apparatus are always slow to respond and apprehend the perpetrators affront, this is because of a sit back strike by the disadvantaged officers and personnel who see things happening and swear that the favored ones should do the work. During the conduct of this research on how the security apparatus failed to apprehend most of the culprits, a feedback had it that those who are not happy about the promotions are more than those favored and they tend to compromise their duties.


1 South Sudan Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control Report 2016 report

2 Warner, L A 2016 The Disintegration of the Military Integration Process in South Sudan (2006–2013) Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, 5(1): 12, pp. 1–20, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/sta.460

3 Global Witness 2015 Human Rights Abuse Report on South Sudan

4 South Sudan National Police Service ,CID Report 2017

5 US Defence Dictionary; definition of Armed Forces

6 Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011 definition of Armed and Law Enforcement Agencies and the National Security Service

7 Geneva Small Arms Control Organization

8 UN Government Penal of Experts on Small Arms and Light Weapons

9 Safer World South Sudan; Community Security Report 2016-2017

10 Ibid Lakes and Warrap Causalities in small arms community violence 2017-2018

Excerpt out of 84 pages


Which Impact does Small Arms Proliferation Have on South Sudan's National Security?
Analysis of the Emergence of Unknown Gunmen
Security and Strategic Studies
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This research entitled: IMPACT OF SMALL ARMS PROLIFERATION ON SOUTH SUDAN NATIONAL SECURITY; THE EMERGENCE OF UNKNOWN GUNMEN, has been done under my guidance and submitted for external examination with my approval as the University Supervisor
which, unknown, emergence, analysis, security, national, sudan, south, have, proliferation, arms, small, impact, gunmen
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Dennis Marial Muorwel Mayom (Author), 2019, Which Impact does Small Arms Proliferation Have on South Sudan's National Security?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/505822


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