KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Two top South Sudanese military officials have resigned while accusing the government of ethnic bias and corruption, the latest sign that President Salva Kiir is struggling to retain his coalition of support as the country’s civil war continues under warnings of genocide.
Four top officials in the past week have now left while criticizing Kiir’s government.
Henry Oyay Nyago, the former judge advocate general of South Sudan’s army, resigned in a letter dated Friday and obtained by The Associated Press. “Your regime committed sundry war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocidal acts and ethnic cleansing,” he wrote.
Another resignation letter by Khalid Ono Loki, the former head of military courts, was also dated Friday and obtained by the AP. It describes a system of justice that is arbitrary, corrupt and discriminatory against those who are not part of the president’s Dinka ethnic group.
Loki’s letter also accuses the head of South Sudan’s army, Paul Malong, of being engaged in “relentless endeavors” to protect his Dinka tribesmen and calls for his resignation.
“You have indeed brought shame and an unfamiliar ethos to South Sudan that will only lead the country to more calamities,” Loki wrote.
Lul Ruai Koang, an army spokesman, confirmed Loki’s resignation Saturday.
Last weekend a top general, Thomas Cirillo Swaka, resigned while saying the military had become dominated by ethnic Dinka. On Friday the minister of labor, Gabriel Duop Lam, resigned and joined rebel leader Riek Machar, who is in exile in South Africa.
After Swaka’s resignation letter told the president “you have disgraced yourself” by subjecting the country to ethnic bias, Kiir spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told the AP there were no tensions within the military.
But frustrations are growing. South Sudan is experiencing hyperinflation, and the army has cited the lack of pay as a root cause of indiscipline.
The country’s civil war began in December 2013, and a 2015 peace deal has failed to stop the fighting that has killed tens of thousands and created more than 1.5 million refugees.
The United Nations has warned that South Sudan is witnessing ethnic cleansing. An effort led by the United States to have the U.N. Security Council impose an arms embargo on the country failed late last year.