Profile: South Sudan army defector Peter Gadet

Peter Gadet in 2011

BBC Monitoring profiles Gen Peter Gadet, said to be an ally of former South Sudan Vice-President Riek Machar in his conflict with President Salva Kiir.

Until recently, Gen Gadet commanded the Sudan People's Liberation Army's (SPLA) 8th Division in northern Jonglei State. Reports say he defected from it in early December however and, with troops loyal to him, attacked and took control of military installations in Bor.

Gen Gadet is believed to be a political and business ally of Mr Machar and both men are ethnic Nuers.

Any decision on his part to support Mr Machar in fighting against the South Sudan government is likely to prolong the conflict in Africa's youngest country.

Gen Gadet has a long and chequered history with the SPLA, the armed wing of the governing Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

He quit and re-joined the organisation several times before South Sudan seceded from Sudan, and has previously supported and been supported by Khartoum in fighting against the SPLA, particularly in Unity State, an oil-producing area which was a bastion for anti-SPLA militia during the two-decade north-south war.

Former South Sudanese vice president Riek Machar Former South Sudan Vice-President Riek Machar is reportedly an ally of Gen Gadet

Gen Gadet has been described as an able military commander and a fierce fighter, as well as a charismatic leader and talented mobiliser. The Sudan Tribune website said his defections during the war "always drastically shifted the balance of power over who controlled Unity State".

The last time he quit the SPLA, in March 2011, it was reported to have been over grievances about corruption and tribalism. President Kiir is from the Dinka community, and rivalry between the Dinka and Nuer are central to the country's current conflict.

Before South Sudan's independence, Gen Gadet was on the board of advisers of the Jarch Management Group, which has obtained oil concessions on large areas of land in South Sudan.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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