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SSudan SPLA Soldier's Widows Demand Compensation

South Sudanese rebel soldiers stand to attention at a military camp in the capital Juba, South Sudan, Thursday, April 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Jason Patinkin)

BOR — Awur Chol Adol, a widow of one of the former rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, said her husband died for the sake of the country, therefore she wants government compensation for his death.

Adol is among some widows of fighters killed during the war calling on the South Sudan government to pay their late husbands' pension. The widows say they have been forgotten and they need the government to pay for the service their husbands gave the country.

"Please remember those who died during the war. You continue pay those who were killed after independence. But you have since forgotten those who were killed during the war (of independence), without pension and no salary," Adol told VOA at a SPLA formation anniversary event in Bor.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the formation of the liberation army of former South Sudan rebels who fought for the independence of the country.

Adol said although there is much to demand from the government, she is happy her husband’s death was not in vain, especially with the country’s independence.

Speaking at the commemorations in Bor, Denay Jock Chagor, the governor of Jonglei State, said the war of independence will mean nothing unless the South Sudanese people unite and stop fighting along ethnic lines.

"Building a nation is not all about what you want, it is all about compromise and love for one another. It is all about making sure that we can disagree and also agree. If we start fighting each other as we have done, what is our achievement. All of the people who have died after our independence, what did they die for," Chagor said.

Kuol Manyang Juuk, a senior presidential advisor, called on the South Sudanese people to stick to the same unity portrayed during the war of independence to achieve progress.

"Unity is important. And peace that the people of the church usually talk about is important. All the ten commandments all talk about peace. Why do we go to church and come out and kill people? We must correct ourselves to correct South Sudan. We must keep peace and stop tribalism. All people who died here would have died in vain if we don't keep peace," Juuk said.

He said the conflicts that broke out in 2013 and 2016 cost South Sudan greatly and took the country backward.

On May 16, 1983, soldiers with the 105 Battalion of the Sudan Armed Forces mutinied in Malual Chaat military garrison in Bor over what they called the marginalization of the people of southern Sudan by the administration in Khartoum.

The mutiny gave birth to the SPLA under the leadership of late John Garang De Mabior, who eventually signed peace with Khartoum in 2005 and led to South Sudan’s independence in 2011.