South Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardiit, has issued a Republican order and renamed the country’s army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) as South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).
The order was read out on the state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) on Tuesday night.
SPLA has been a guerrilla military wing of the SPLM which led a 21 years insurgency against the successive Arab governments in Khartoum making the war the longest in the continent.
The war led to a peace deal in January 2005 leading to independence in July 2011.
It was founded in 1983 by Dr. John Garang de’Mabior.
The order cited resolutions of the sixth SPLA Command Council Meeting of 2017.
This is in a bid to professionalize the army to reflect the diversity of the South Sudanese communities.
“SPLA will be South Sudan People Defense Force, and we will implement that, and I will issue a decree so that general Jok implement that,” Kiir said. adding that “The SPLA leaders conference that we held last time in Bilpam decided that, since we have got our independence, we should change our name from Sudan People Liberation Army or Sudan People Liberation Movement because we have separated from Sudan.”