May 3, 14 (JUBA) – Rising tensions have rocked Jonglei state capital Bor following organised violence by some armed youth elements who opposed a recent reshuffle of the state cabinet, in which the former minister of finance Aquila Maluth Mama lost his position.
- Civilians make their way to the UN base in Jonglei capital Bor following the outbreak of violence in the country (Photo: UNMISS)
The so-called “Bor youth” said they were angered by Mama’s removal and were preparing to storm the town and block roads on Sunday morning, said a source, who did not rule out the use of force.
Mama, along with several other state ministers, was not reappointed in the new government which was announced on local radio in Bor on Saturday.
Bor youths are accused of killing internally displaced people, mainly of Nuer origin, after launching an attack on the capital’s UN camp, in which more than 50 people lost their lives.
Governor John Kong said an investigation would be carried out into the incident to bring the culprits to justice.
Bor county commissioner Agot Alier told Sudan Tribune by phone from Bor that the youth of Bor county were not a part of elements opposed to the government reshuffling, saying “the criminals who took advantage of the situation would be dealt with militarily”.
“I am sure there are some agitators who are fuelling this, but the Bor Youth Association leaders said they did not have knowledge about those [who] organised any sort of violence,” he said.
“They are using the name of Bor in a wrong way. Police will crush them by force. Police will continue patrolling the town till morning,” he added.
Mama’s successor is said to be from the Anuak community in eastern Jonglei.
State health minister Jehan Michek Deng and minister for local government Diing Akol Diing were also among those replaced in the reshuffle.
According to Alier, Mama was aware his would not appear in the new cabinet lineup and had welcomed the changes.
It is not known whether he attempted to reach out to the youth in question to calm the situation.
A number of new faces from the Dinka Bor appeared in the new government, including Wal Athiu Madol, Lith Aluong, Dr Anok Kuol Tir all from Bor County, as well as Amuor Kuol Ageer from Twic East county.
It is not immediately clear which ministries the new appointees will be representing.
Sudan Tribune was unable to reach Mama for comment or the youth organisers of the protest action.
Ministers, who were retained in their positions, included the state minister of agriculture and forestry, Mayan Nor Atom of Duck county, Gay Riam for parliamentary affairs of Uror county, Anok Omot for gender, child and social welfare of Pochalla county.
Jonglei state was the scene of some of the worst violence since conflict erupted in the country in mid-December last year, with loyalties splitting along tribal lines between forces loyal to president Salva Kiir, a Dinka, and rebels aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar, who hails from the Nuer ethnic group.
The recent attack on the UN base was reportedly triggered after armed Dinka youths were angered after hearing residents inside celebrating the fall of Unity state capital Bentiu, which was recaptured from government forces last month.