December 2, 2013 (BENTIU) – The newly-appointed commissioner of Unity state’s Rubkotna county, Col Stephen Salam Maluit, has called on residents of the area to refrain from acts of tribal violence.
Maluit was appointed last week after caretaker governor Joseph Nguen Monytuel dismissed former commissioner Thomas Maluit Hoth.
Hoth had served as commissioner for three months, but was fired by the governor after a series of deaths in the county during the past month, amid accusations he had failed to maintain security in the area.
Last Thursday, five people were killed and seven injured after a group of armed youths attacked a Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) base in Chaalual village, in Rubkotna county. Eleven SPLA soldiers were reportedly killed in the attack.
The SPLA fourth division commander in Rubkotna, James Koang Chuol, accused Hoth and other local officials of being complicit in the attack.
The attack on the army base was allegedly carried out by about 20 armed Leek youth, with eyewitnesses describing the fighting as some of the fiercest the region has seen.
In a public address in Rubkotna, Maluit urged residents to remain calm, saying they must not resort to violence to resolve their issues.
“I have [to] tell you frankly as brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, elders and parents, what has happened; let it not repeat itself again”, he said.
“You should not say, ’I belong to Mr X or Y’; we are one people and should follow [the] same voice in order to work peacefully,” he added.
The new commissioner called on politicians in the area to work with him in order to address insecurity in the county.
Tuong Nguar Kuenynguong, a respected paramount chief in Rubkotna, applauded the appointment on the new commissioner, saying he was confident he could bring much needed improvements to the security situation in the county.
“You may look at him as a small person, but his mind is heavier than his body. We have to applaud his presence as the new commissioner”, said Kuenyguong.
The paramount chief urged the Leek communities to join hands with the new commissioner and work as a team.
Other senior politicians and officials in the county have also welcomed the new commissioner and called on local residents to work with him.