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JUBA - 11 May 2020

Kiir sacks army chief Gabriel Jok

File photo: Gabriel Jok
File photo: Gabriel Jok

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit sacked his army chief on Monday without giving any reason.

A presidential decree announced on national television said Chief of Defense Forces General Gabriel Jok Riak had been removed with immediate effect. It did not specify any particular reason for the dismissal.

Jok, from Jonglei State in the Upper Nile region, was appointed as head of the army in May 2018, following the death of General James Ajongo after a short illness.

In another decree, Kiir appointed General Johnson Juma Okot as the new army chief.

Okot, from Eastern Equatoria State, was the assistant chief of defense forces for administration and finance.

Army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang told Radio Tamazuj that it was a prerogative of the president to remove the military chief.

He said the move was a routine changing of personnel.

"The new Chief of Defense Forces is not new to the military. He [Okot] has been serving for nearly two years as Jok's deputy. General Okot has just succeeded his boss, so he is not someone being brought from nowhere," said Lul.