South Sudan: Lakes State - Newly Appointed Governor Embarks On Security Reforms

Rumbek — The newly appointed caretaker governor of South Sudan's Lakes state, Major Gen. Matur Chuot Dhuol has embarked on a tour of all counties, putting security reform as his top priority.

Dhuol replaced the former governor, Chol Tong Mayay, who was sacked through a decree South Sudan President, Salva Kiir issued last week.

However, a week since assuming his new role, the caretaker governor has toured the greater Yirol counties, comprising Awerial, Yirol West, Yirol East as well as Rumbek East, holding separate meetings with the various communities.

"In all [the] rallies that I held with [the] Lakes state population, I told them security [needs] to be improved. I am here to provide security to people of Lakes state and I need everyone to cooperate with [me]," he told Sudan Tribune.

The newly appointed governor warned that officials who fail to meet his objective of maintaining security, risk losing their positions.

He further told the community that his security reform agenda will also affect chiefs and those who stay "without assignment".

Authorities in Lakes state's Cueibet County told the caretaker governor that pastoralist youth from the area deserted their cattle camps, and fears are that they could be on a mission to raid cattle from neighboring Warrap state.

Dhuol has instructed the Cueibet County commissioner, Isaac Mayom Malek to act on the matter, and ensure the youth from his area to do carry out any raid.

"I have notified [the] commissioner of Cueibet County to resign if he fails to control such practices of cattle raiding between Cueibet and Warrap state," Dhuol said, adding that cattle raiding is a "completely unacceptable" practice.

The caretaker governor said he will initiate a system whereby Lakes state communities will be compensated in case their cattle are raided by other people. He vowed to raise the matter with his counterparts in other states, adding that he will open a court case, if any governor fails to cooperate with him.

He also urged commissioners in Lake state counties to ensure the organised forces, including South Sudan army (SPLA) are on alert to monitor activities with their neighboring counties.

Lakes state has in recent weeks, experienced several incidences linked to cattle raids, prompting authorities to resume forceful disarmament after sectional clashes erupted in its Rumbek Central County for the first time.

On January 18, Amothnhom and Panyon inter-clans clashes in the state left more than 25 people dead, while about 30 sustained gunshot wounds. Prior to that, about 10 people died in Cueibet County, located in the western part of the state, when a group of heavily armed Gok Dinka youth killed seven SPLA soldiers in Malual-chum cattle camp.

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