December 23, 2013 (RUMBEK) - Authorities in Rumbek, the capital of Lakes state, have relocated over 100 members of the Nuer ethnic group who were living in the state’s eight counties to a military barracks in Rumbek on Monday to protect them from possible attack.
- Matur Chuot Dhuol was appointed as caretaker governor of Lakes state in January 2013 (ST)
Unrest in South Sudan over the last week, triggered by a dispute within the Presidential Guard in Juba, has seen civilians targeted on the basis of their ethnicity.
Rumbek East county commissioner David Marial Gumke and Lakes state governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol made the decision to relocate the Nuer civilians to protect them from revenge attacks.
Reports that people were targetted on the basis of their tribe during the violence in Juba last week led to the conflict spreading to other parts of the country, with the commanders of the army in Jonglei and Unity state defecting and siding with former vice president Riek Machar.
Kiir has accused Machar and others of attempting to oust him in a coup. But they have strongly denied this. Senior members of South Sudan’s ruling party - from a range of ethnic groups including the Dinka - have been detained in Juba. Both sides have agreed to talks but no progress has been made public.
"As a commissioner of this county and with directive of South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit, I act to protect all Nuer native in my county, I have send 100 plus Nuer people to Malou military barrack with help from South Sudan police services and the SPLA to relocate all Nuer for safety” said David Marial Gumke.
Lakes state governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol repeat his call for people in his state not to become involved in the crisis.
Speaking on government-owned Radio Rumbek FM 98, Dhuol said that the "public of Rumbek must involve in this current crisis. What happened in Juba is Juba politics and Lakes state is not party to power wrangling in Juba."
He called upon public of Lakes state, which is dominated by the Dinka, to maintain good peaceful relations with the Nuer, South Sudan’s second largest ethnic group after the Dinka.
"Our goal is peace and construction of South Sudan" he said.
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