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Lawmakers make little headway in reconciling Lakes state’s rival clans

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April 23, 2014 (RUMBEK) – A team of Lakes state lawmakers touring eight counties in the capital, Rumbek, say that peace and reconciliation efforts remain challenging, with pastoralist youths in the area showing little interest in the initiative.

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MP Daniel Dhieu Matuet heads a delegation of lawmakers currently touring eight counties in Lakes state as part of peace and reconciliation efforts aimed at stemming inter-clan violence (ST)

Lakes state has been the scene of violent inter-clan clashes and a cycle of revenge killings in recent months.

Activists have accused the state’s military caretaker governor, Matur Chut Dhuol, appointed after president Salva Kiir Mayardit removed his elected predecessor, Chol Tong Mayay, of implementing harsh security measures.

There are growing calls for Dhuol’s resignation, amid concerns the Lakes state government is becoming increasingly isolated.

Chut was among 35 top military officers who were removed from active military service and put on a reserve list for reassignment in a separate presidential decree on 21 January 2013.

His appointment received mixed reactions in Lakes state, with critics fearing the new governor would rule with “an iron fist”.

A group of joint lawmakers from the national parliament in Juba and Lakes state assembly are currently touring different counties preaching a message of peace and reconciliation to rival clans involved in the spate of violence.

The tour covers Cueibet, Wulu, Rumbek Central, Rumbek North and Rumbek East counties, but lawmakers say pastoralist youths are largely boycotting sessions, challenging authorities to bring those responsible for killings to justice.

However, MP Daniel Dhieu Matuet, who heads the delegation of lawmakers, said that peace and reconciliation efforts remain ongoing, with the committee also expected to visit greater Yirol counties.

Matuet did not elaborate further on whether reconciliation efforts have made progress in Rumbek counties visited so far.

“We are moving to greater Yirol counties like Awerial, Yirol West and Yirol East to tell pastoralist youths to stop [this] cycle of revenge and to allow justice,” he said.

“Already all murder cases are going to court,” he added, without indicating how many murders cases were currently being heard in court.

Frustration is growing among Lakes state’s youth, intellectuals and traditional authorities, with the president so far resisting calls for Dhuol’s removal.

Daniel Juol Nhomguek, a law student at the Makerere University, personally wrote to Kiir asking for Dhuol’s removal, describing him as an “imposed caretaker governor”.

On Wednesday, Kiir issued a presidential decree appointing Northern Bahr el Ghazal state governor General Paul Malong Awan as the South Sudanese army’s (SPLA) chief-of-staff, replacing General James Hot Mei.

General Marial Nuor Jok was also appointed head of military intelligent, replacing Mac Paul.

A group of students destroyed a television set after Kiir’s decree ended without an announcement on Dhuol’s removal.

(ST)

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