August 22, 2016 (BENTIU) - Governor of Northern Liech state, Joseph Nguen Monytuil, has created 11 new counties from the former counties of Koch, Rubkotna, Guit and Mayom, respectively.
- Northern Liech state governor Joseph Monytuil (Photo: Larco Lomayat)
The decree came into effect on 21 August, according to Lam Tunguar Kueinguong, the state minister of information, youth, culture and sports.
However, minister Tunguar has not revealed names of the new counties. Another source from the state told Sudan Tribune the breakdown of the counties saw Guit, the home county of the new First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, split into 2 counties. Koch county also split into 2, Rubkotna, 3 and Mayom into 4.
In the same statement, the state information minister said governor Monytuil met with new SPLA-IO senior officers who defected to President Kiir in Tor-Abith, which include Maj. Gen. Liah Diu, Maj.Gen Dor Manjuor and all under the command of Maj.Gen Makal Kuol.
“We welcome the generals who have switched allegiance to support the President General Salva Kiir Mayardit and first vice president Gen.Taban Deng Gai,” Tunguar said.
He claimed that around 13,000 soldiers defected from the armed opposition allied to Riek Machar and now waiting to be integrated into the SPLA. Opposition officials loyal to Machar however dismissed the claim as false, saying only 80 soldiers defected to Kiir’s forces with the generals, who mainly come from Gai’s county of Guit.
They also claimed that the pictures of soldiers taken with the three defected SPLA-IO Generals are government forces in the area and not new defectors, adding that it was to deceive the public that the soldiers were new defectors.
The conflicts in South Sudan have claimed tens of thousands of lives following the outbreak of the violence in 2013. A recent violent clash in Juba killed at least 300 people and forced another 60,000 more people to seek safety in the neighbourhood countries.
It was not clear how many more others were killed in the bushes during the more than one month of intensive fighting when government forces were hunting for Machar before his successful escape into DR Congo from Juba on foot.