April 10, 2017 (JUBA) – Chiefs from South Sudan’s Gorgrial state have disowned a letter allegedly written by 40 chiefs from Aguok, seeking President Salva Kiir’s attention to fight what was reportedly influenced by his brother in law, Gregory Vasili.
In series of interview with Sudan Tribune Monday, multiple chiefs and local officials protested claims of the fight between Aguok and Apuk.
“I would like to say on behalf of the chiefs whose names appeared on that letter, neither I nor those whose names have appeared in the letter knew anything about it. It is even surprising that a name of a chief who has died was included. I wonder how he participated, he resurrected from the grave. My name also appeared while I had not knowledge,” Chief Riing Ayok told the Sudan Tribune.
Chief Ayok threatened a legal suit against those who had forged the letter, saying that the document not only meant to cause disharmony between the two communities, but it also intended to tarnish their political images in the communities, along with undermining their working relations with the state government.
“We will not let it go like that because this is beyond politics. It has now reached a point in which we cannot stand aloof with our arms akimbo. We will try to find the masterminds of the letter so that we know their motives and reasons for using our names without our knowledge,” said the chief.
Ariech Mayar Ariech, Information Minister of Gorgrial State denied the involvement of the government in the sectional fight, describing the letter as fake and a work of political rivals in the area.
“First of all that letter is fake. It was forged and the proof of the lack of authenticity of the letter is that the chiefs whose names appeared in the letter know nothing about it. They protested and are now working towards finding who forged their names,” said Ariech.
The chief went on to emphasise that the letter was untrue and meant for malicious intent, excusing the governor from any involvement with the sectional fights.
“The second thing is that all the allegations in the letter are untrue. They are a false creation by people who don’t like peace and harmony in our state. The governor did not in any way involve himself in this sectional fight. In fact, he has been one of the leaders whose efforts in finding a lasting solution have notably been appreciated by both sides. The third is that he is the governor of the state. He is not a tribal leader. So how can a governor, a leader of all the people take sides in sectional fights?" he asked.
Ariech further added that the allegations that the governor was arming and disarming as well as drawing local borders in favour of one section at the expense of the others were also “false and unfounded lies.”
“One should be ashamed that the propagated these allegations. The governor cannot arm one community and disarm the other. What will be his interest? Why would he do that and he is the governor of all the people of the state. He is the governor of Gogrial state, not Apuk and Aguok communities," further explained Ariech.
He added, "This alone tells you that this was just propaganda which cannot be propagated because it is good at nothing than creating disharmony. It is all about lies, unfounded rumours, gossips and promotion of political gimmicks, nothing is credible in all these allegations at all”.