South Sudanese RSF Mercenary Commander Arrested by SPLA-IO in Unity State

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) in Unity State last week arrested a mercenary South Sudanese commander of the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Maj. Gen. Sheikh Gibril Tap Gatjiek, for recruiting youth at the border area between South Sudan and Sudan.

According to officials, Gen. Tap who earlier was with SPLA-IO but defected to the SSPDF joined the Sudanese RSF after war erupted between the latter and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on 15 April 2023. 

Observers say that many South Sudanese who had sought refuge or were domiciled in Sudan before the war joined the conflict and are fighting on either side.

Major Karubino Yai Pazale, the SPLA-IO Sector Two information officer in the Tong cantonment area in Unity State, on Monday, confirmed the arrest of Gen. Tap and said he was apprehended last week along the South Sudan-Sudan border for mobilizing people to join RSF to attack SAF positions in the Heglig oilfield.

“He was apprehended in a forest where he conducts local recruitment and is now under investigation by the SPLA-IO Military Intelligence Unit at the Tong Contentment Site so they are the ones who can give proper information,” he said.

The SPLA-IO information officer revealed that Gen. Tap was arrested with an undisclosed number of soldiers but was taken to Tong alone.

“The reason for his arrest is because we do not want to be involved in the Sudan conflict because Sudan is the one that gifted us our independence in July 2011,” Maj. Yai added.

He said Gen Tap is a South Sudanese national and son of Unity State’s Rubkona County.

Koch Madut