Meet a soldier who has never received a piaster since 2005, collects garbage for survival
AUTHOR: Anyar Kuol | PUBLISHED: May 17, 2023
Veteran Soldier James Majok Jok at Mingkaman market where he collects garbage for about $1 a day | Credit | Anyar Kuol/ Mingkaman FM
A forgotten veteran soldier says he has never received any salary since signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. He is asking the concerned authorities why they have neglected him.
James Majok Jok joined the SPLA in 1986 at the age of 25. He became a well-trained soldier under the Zal-zal Battalion, fighting for the liberation of the then-Southern region.
However, when his only brother, who was also in the army, was killed fighting at Jokou in 1993, his superiors – to preserve his lineage – asked him to return home to marry in 1999.
He married in 2001 and continued caring for his family and older brothers. In 2005, Majok says his name was never entered into the payroll despite several attempts to get senior commanders to do so.
“I have been trying all the offices. I am not part of the wounded heroes, though I am a wounded hero. As you can see in my age, I am not part of the veterans,” the 62-year-old told Mingkaman FM.
“I am asking the government why I am neglected after we got our own country. What will be the reward of my sacrifice?”
The veteran soldier says he had to make do, working as a janitor at Mingkaman market, trying to feed his family and raise medication money for his wife, who has been ill since 2016.
He says the little money, about $1, he gets in the market after collecting garbage from shops is the only means for his family’s survival, but it is not enough to take his wife to a hospital.
“I work over 10 hours daily, earning less than 1000 SSP. I AM GRIEVED when I come home and see how my wife is struggling with her health. As you can see, I have no hope and am aging,” Majok added.
Majok is a denizen citizen of Awerial County, Lakes State. The South Sudan People’s Defense Forces headquarters at Bilpam in Juba is yet to comment on his plight.
He told Mingkaman’s Anyar Kuol that a veteran soldier who had arrived from Juba controllably wept and walked after he saw him collecting garbage in the market in 2022.