October 21, 2012 (JUBA) – The chairperson of the South Sudan’s peace and reconciliation commission, Chuol Rambang Chol, has called on the youth across the country to avoid inciting inter-communal conflicts in response to the recent arrest of a senior army officer.
- A man speaks with merchants in a market in Juba on January 6, 2011 in (Getty)
The call took place on Sunday after the arrest of Maj. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, who is accused of having links with David Yauyau a rebel leader in South Sudan’s troubled eastern Jonglei State. The detention resulted in fierce criticism and inter-communal accusations among South Sudanese youth.
The peace commission’s chairperson, Rambang, on Sunday while addressing the Nuer congregation of the Presbytery Church, appealed to the youth groups in the various communities, particularly the Nuer youth, to remain calm until an investigation is carried out into the allegations.
Rambang who also hails from the Lou-Nuer community told the congregation that there was no reason for the youth in the two communities to react in the manner they did in the internet publications, saying the accusations will be handled in a peaceful legal manner.
Gatwech who hails from the Lou-Nuer community in Uror County in Jonglei State was also allegedly connected to a rumoured coup plot to topple South Sudan President Salva Kiir.
One the biggest criticisms against his arrest came from a published letter purportedly written by the Nuer Youth Executive Committee who said the accusations against Gatwech were “baseless” and might have carried tribal motivations on the side of the accuser.
The youth said they were responding to a publication by the Jieng Community Association who also published an accusation against Maj. Gen. Bol Kong of having links with the fugitive Lou-Nuer spiritual leader, Dak Kueth, who avoided a disarmament campaign in Jonglei State last year, apparently by crossing the border into Ethiopia.
They questioned the interest behind the Jieng community in particular to involve in the military in such serious accusations and demanded the immediate release of General Kong.
President Salva Kiir confirmed that the report he received implicated Maj. Gen. Gatwech in the alleged anti-government moves in South Sudan.
Gai Lel Ngundeng, the grandson of the Nuer prophet Ngundeng Bong - who lived in present day Jonglei and died more than a hundred years ago - also in a public letter directed to President Kiir, demanded the unconditional release of Maj. Gen. Gatwech.
The prophet’s grandson, who is a Canadian South Sudanese, called for calm to stop the situation from sliding into an inter-communal conflict.