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President Kiir publishes SPLA day message, declares holiday


President Salva Kiir has released his 2021 SPLA day message, commemorating the sacrifice of South Sudan's veterans in the independence struggle from 1983 to present.

May 16th, SPLA day, commemorates the anniversary of the recommencement of hostilities between the South Sudanese people and the Sudanese government.

In 1983, Southern units in the Sudanese army rebelled at a number of barracks across the south. Most famously at Bor but also at Ayod, Pochalla, Wangkai, and Pibor, the fighting marked the beginning of the war that would eventually lead to South Sudan's independence.

May 16th also marks the formal foundation of the SPLA, led by appointed Chairman Dr John Garang de Mabior. Although the war is now over, the SPLA lives on through its political wing, the SPLM.

From left: William Nyuon, John Garang, Salva Kiir and Kuol Manyang.

In his statement, President Kiir describes the day as 'a landmark event in our history. On this day, we recall the sacrifices made by our martyrs and reflect on the heroic deeds of men and women who didn't live to see the birth of our country'.

Beyond saluting the veterans of the struggle, Kiir also commemorates serving organised forces for their 'dedication to duty in the face of mounting challenges'.

The President also praises national progress on the R-ARCSS, and has pledged to continue 'serious engagement' with disaffected groups across the country towards peace.

'Our intention in this process is to restore stability in our country and I call upon all of you to fully support us in this process by embracing peaceful coexistence and shunning violence. Long live the history of our liberation struggle and long live South Sudan!'

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