22 January 2013

Sudan: Lakes State Gets New Military Caretaker Governor

Juba — South Sudan's president Salva Kiir has appointed Major General Matur Chut as caretaker Governor of Lakes state, a day after removing Governor Chol Tong Mayay, according to a presidential decree broadcast by South Sudan Television (SSTV) on Tuesday.

Kiir initially put Deputy Governor Mabor Achol Kuer in temporary charge.

Chut was one of the 35 top military officers who were removed from active military service and put on a reserve list "until they are reassigned" in a separate presidential decree on Monday.

The new Governor's appointment has been received with mixed reactions in Lakes state, with some of his critics fearing he will run the state with "an iron fist".

Mayay was removed after a series of deadly clashes between Lakes state's cattle herding groups. He was accused of failing to prevent the clashes and address the causes of the violence.

COUNTY CHIEFS ARRESTED:

Three county executive chiefs in South Sudan's Lakes state were arrested on Sunday in connection with the recent inter-clan clashes in Rumbek central county, which led to the death of 25 people.

The chiefs were reportedly arrested on orders of Chol Tong Mayay before he was relived from his position as Lake state's Governor through a decree issued by South Sudanese president Salva Kiir on Monday.

Those arrested were chiefs from communities in Rumbek Central, Rumbek East and Cueibet counties.

Mayay reportedly had instructed the state's ministry of local government and law enforcement agency to investigate the circumstances surrounding the inter-clan violence.

In an interview with Sudan Tribune before he was sacked, the governor also warned his administration would deal with "inciters" and "mongers" of violence in the state.

"I warn inciters, rumour mongers and agitators to desist from such unacceptable behaviour otherwise they will face [the] full force of the law," he said.

At least two South Sudanese army (SPLA) soldiers and two police officers were among those killed while attempting to separate the groups engaged in the gun battle, leaving about 30 with gunshot wounds.

Lakes state's information minister Charles Badiri Mayen told Sudan Tribune that the 18 January incident occurred between Amothnhom and Panyon sections of the Dinka ethnic group over grazing land in a vast territory shared by the two communities.

The area, known as the toch, borders the Marial-Bek cattle camp, which is located about 15 km north-east of Rumbek Central county, he added.

Meanwhile, the security situation in Lakes state is reported to have normalised after well-equipped police and military forces were deployed to the area where the clashes occurred.

On 11 January, a cattle herding group in Cueibet county clashed with South Sudan's army (SPLA), resulting in the death of seven soldiers and three civilians from neighbouring Warrap State.

(ST):

ST - Kiir sacks Lakes state governor

ST - South Sudan president relieves senior army officers

ST - Lakes state: Revenge clashes leave 25 dead and 30 wounded

ST - Lakes: 10 dead and 13 others wounded in clashes

Background:

ST - Chol Tong Mayay

ST - Salva Kiir Mayardit

ST - South Sudan Police Service (SSPS)

ST - Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA)

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