South Sudan Democratic Movement

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"South Sudan Army" and "South Sudan Defence Army" direct here. For the military of South Sudan, see Armed forces of South Sudan.

The South Sudan Democratic Movement (SSDM), sometimes called the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (SSDM/A), is a South Sudanese militant group. Along with its armed wing, the South Sudan Defence Army (SSDA), it is currently in rebellion against the government of South Sudan led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.[1]

The Movement, which was formed in 2010 by controversial former Sudan People's Liberation Army general George Athor after he failed to win the governorship of Jonglei in what was then the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan, is active in the state of Jonglei as well as neighbouring Upper Nile in the Republic of South Sudan. Many SSDM fighters are from the Murle,[2][3] a minority tribe that has long disputed herds of livestock and pasturing grounds with a fellow cattle ranching tribe, the Lou Nuer. Under Athor's leadership, Murle tribesmen repeatedly clashed with the Lou Nuer and the armed forces of South Sudan throughout much of 2011.

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has accused the North Sudanese government of supporting the SSDM, though SPLA officials have not elaborated on what role they believe Khartoum's backing has played.[4]

Death of George Athor[edit]

George Athor was intercepted and killed in Equatoria on 19 December 2011 by South Sudanese troops. Following its leader's death, the status of the SSDM is unclear, though fighting between the Nuer and Murle in Jonglei and Upper Nile is ongoing as of late December 2011.[5]

In February 2012 John Uliny claimed leadership of the SSDM.[6]


  1. ^ Small Arms Survey - HSBA Baseline Assessment, Armed Groups: Athor
  2. ^ Chagai Bol, Francis (26 December 2011). "Killing of Civilians in Jonglei State as Government Leaders Watch". The Citizen. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Ayeun Kuany, Michael (12 December 2011). "Juet Massacre: Genocide in Jonglei, South Sudan". RebuildSudan. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Arol Garang, Ngor (24 December 2011). "South Sudan says new evidence indicates Khartoum supported Athor". Sudan Tribune. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  5. ^ BBC (20 December 2011). "South Sudan rebel George Athor 'killed'". BBC Online. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "John Uliny - John Olony - Johnson Olony". Sudan Tribune. Retrieved 19 May 2015.