December 22, 2013 (BENTIU) – The fourth division commander of the South Sudan army (SPLA) in Unity state has announced a new interim administration, a day after he defected to the opposition forces and assumed governorship of the oil-rich region.
- Commander of the SPLA’s fourth division, Maj. Gen. James Koang Chuol, in Unity state 25 February, 2013 (ST)
In a military decree read on-air Bentiu FM, Maj. Gen James Koang Chuol put in place an interim administration, comprising of six state supervisors and seven county commissioners.
He appointed James Nguany Chakuoth as the new speaker of Unity state legislative assembly, which is to be deputised by Petro Juoi Machar.
According to the decree, those nominated shall work under the supervision of the new state governor.
On Saturday, Koang declared that he had deposed the caretaker governor and that his forces were no longer loyal to president Salva Kiir. He also accused former governor Joseph Nguen Monytuel of an alleged attempt to kill him, in what he said was a coordinated plan.
Speaking on state and private radio stations on Saturday, Koang ordered state ministers to remain in their homes, but called on civil servants to continue working as normal.
He said president Kiir, his vice-president and Unity state’s acting governor had fuelled the fighting which began in the capital, Juba, on 15 December and has since spread throughout the country.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other sources have reported that some of the fighting in Juba targeted citizens on the basis of their tribe, after clashes between Dinka and Nuer members of the presidential guard.
The violence comes months after severe tensions emerged between senior members of South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) following the dismissal of the country’s entire cabinet, vice-president Riek Machar and the suspension of the SPLM’s secretary-general, Pagan Amum, in July.
Kiir has accused his opponents within the SPLM of staging a coup and has arrested at least 11 senior figures. Machar, whom Kiir accuses of masterminding the alleged plot, is now on the run, but has called on the latter to step down.
But Machar, who initially denied any involvement in the alleged coup, has now confirmed the existence of a rebellion against the current regime, describing Kiir as an “illegal” president.
FULL LIST OF APPOINTEES
Hon. James Nguany Chakuoth - speaker of Unity state
Dr. Petro Juoi Machar - deputy speaker
Major. Simon Chuol Biel
Col. Abraham Lony Biel
Major. John Bol Mayak
Koang Dalenga Ruathdel
NEW LIST OF STATE COMMISSIONERS
Major. Peter Gatpan Goak Deng - Payinjiar county
Manasa Liep Reek - Leer county
James Gatluak Chuol - Mayiandit county
Biel Matuek - Rubkotna County
Brigadier General Liah Diu - Guit County
Captain. George Gatloi Koang - Koch County
Hon. Peter Dak Khan - Mayom County
— Shaista Aziz (@shaistaAziz) December 22, 2013