August 9, 2014 (RUMBEK) – Authorities in South Sudan’s Lakes state have suspended three chiefs from Cueibet county over their bid to join Warrap state’s Tonj South county in defiance of military caretaker governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol.
The chiefs, Meen Pec, Det Wantok and Makur Nyuar, are in control of the western part of Cueibet county, which is seeking to join the neighbouring administration.
According to Lakes state MP Veronica Ujma Philip, the three chiefs have been suspended indefinitely after their moves angered Dhuol.
The Panyar communities of Cueibet county are seeking protection from the state government.
The chiefs reportedly instructed their communities not to go into Cueibet for trade or court matters in order to avoid state authorities after the government banned the community from operating their traditional court.
A local market was instead opened by the three chiefs in Ludochok at Malou-pec where the Panyar community is bale to sell and trade their cows and goats.
One of the chiefs, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the suspension.
“We are ready to join Warrap state just seeking for our community protection, as well our personal belongings – harassment [has] become a business of the day,” he said.
In a separate incident, two people were killed by an unknown gunman at Ayeicok in Cueibet county’s Duony payam (district) on Friday.
One of the victims was from the Pan-Nhaich of the Gok section, while the other was from the Dinka Agaar section of Rumbek East county. The culprit remains at large.
The county criminal investigation department (CID) alleged that the suspect is likely to have come from Rumbek East county and that the attack may have been related to the killing of paramount chief Apareer Chut Dhuol, who was murdered by an unknown assailant at Pacong payam on 5 August.
The CID also believe the paramount chief’s shooting was in retaliation for the death of late chief Maker Mabor, who was killed in 2002 by Dhuol’s son.
Local police say state authorities have become increasingly isolated, with the public refusing to share information with law enforcement officers, making in difficult to investigate killings and maintain law and order in the region.
There are growing calls for South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayardit to relieve the caretaker governor, however, those calls have so far been overlooked.