Kerubino Kuanyin

Kerubino Kuanyin Bol (1948 – 10 September 1999) was one of the leaders of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005). He was said to have fired the first shot in that conflict, which flared up when the Khartoum government of Sudan imposed Muslim Sharia law on the Christian or animist people of South Sudan.[1]

Early years

Kerubino was born in 1948 of Dinka parents in Twic County, Bahr al Ghazal province in the west of South Sudan. He was educated at a Roman Catholic mission primary school, and went on to intermediate studies. In 1955 a battalion of southern soldiery mutinied, forming the nucleus of the Anyanya rebels in the First Sudanese Civil War, which continued until the south was granted regional autonomy under the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972. Kerubino joined the Anyanya and stayed on in the armed forces after the civil war ended.[1] Kerubino lead mutiny of the garrison of Bor.

SPLA commander

In June 1983 Colonel John Garang de Mabior joined mutiny of the garrison of Bor, forming the SPLA in October 1983. Kerubino, now a lieutenant-colonel in the army, sent several of his wives and children to safety in Nairobi, Kenya, and joined the SPLA as a field commander. In 1986 Kerubino was deputy commander-in-chief of the SPLA and deputy chairman of the SPLM provisional executive committee. In 1987 he led a successful attack on several towns in Blue Nile province to the north of South Sudan. Growing over-ambitious, he was accused of plotting a coup against Garang and was jailed for the next six years.[1]

SSIM commander

In August 1991 Riek Machar, Lam Akol and Gordon Kong announced that John Garang had been ejected from the SPLM. They formed a rival militia called the SPLA-Nasir after their base in the town of Nasir.[2] Kerubino escaped and joined Riek Machar in 1993, with his Dinka forces making an important addition to the formerly Nuer-dominated SPLA-Nasir. Kerubino became deputy Commander in Chief.[3] Although seeking independence for South Sudan, the group received covert support from the Government of Sudan as it fought the SPLA between 1991 and 1999 in attacks that became increasingly violent and ethnically motivated.[4]

Government ally

Early in 1995 Riek dismissed Kerubino and Commander William Nyuon Bany from his South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM) on the basis that they had signed military and political agreements with the government of Sudan late in the previous year, and that they had attempted to form a government-supported faction in the SSIM.[5] The Sudan government tried to make Kerubino a leader in his home province, but he was not successful in gaining support of the local Dinka, and members of his militia returned to their villages.[1]

In January 1998 Kerubino's forces briefly seized Wau, the main town in Bahr al Ghazal. From this strong position, he applied to rejoin the SPLA. He was accepted, but assigned to a headquarters position rather than a field appointment. In disgust, he returned to the Sudan Government and in 1999 joined the South Sudan United Army, a militia headed by Paulino Matip.[1] That year Commander Peter Gadet fell out with Paulino Matip. During the struggles that followed Kerubino Kuanyin Bol was shot in obscure circumstances on 10 September 1999. He left several wives and more than 20 children.[1]



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