South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has fired the head of the army, Gen James Hoth Mai.
A decree read out on state television on Wednesday announced that Gen James Hoth Mai would be removed with immediate effect.
While no official reason was given for the removal of Gen Hoth Mai on Wednesday, analysts say the military has suffered several setbacks in the north of the country in recent days.
Analysts note that the sacked army chief hails from the same ethnic group as that of rebel leader and former Vice-President Riek Machar.
The conflict pits Mr Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, against Mr Machar, from the Nuer community.
A January ceasefire deal has failed to halt fighting that began in December after Mr Kiir accused Mr Machar of plotting to stage a coup.
More than a million people have been forced from their homes since the violence started.