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Jikany Nuer community laud SPLM-IO officers on peace move

Taban Deng Gai addresses delegates after he was sworn-in as South Sudan FVP inside the Presidential Palace in the capital of Juba, July 26, 2016 (Photo Reuters/ Jok Solomun)
July 29, 2017 (JUBA) – The Jikany Nuer community in South Sudan and Ethiopia have congratulated the four SPLM/A-IO senior officers who joined the peace forces loyal to South Sudan’s First Vice-President, Taban Deng Gai in Pagak at South Sudan’s border with Ethiopia.

The move, the community said in a statement, saved many lives.

Gai replaced Machar, the armed opposition leader, who was until July last year the First Vice-President in the coalition government.

“There is no logic whatsoever why Jikany Nuer would be subjected to insecurity and chaos because Riek Machar was replaced by Gen. Taban Deng Gai, who is a Jikany of Bentiu. If the internal Nuer leadership dynamic is the one behind the thinking of those rejecting peace, the Jikany Nuer would make it abundantly clear that Gen. Taban Deng Gai is their son who is capable of bringing peace in South Sudan,” the community said in a statement issued Saturday.

The four officers included Gen. James Khor Chuol Giet, Gen. Thok Chuol Luak, Gen. Thok Chuol Liah and Gen. Stephen Pal Kun Kek.

According to the community, the Jikany Nuer population badly suffered 1991 due to the sectional and clan fighting, which erupted afterwards as a result of the unexpected breakdown of law and order.

“After the eruption of conflict in December 2013, Jikany became victims of the SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] Party’s power struggle. Thousands of Jikany youth were mobilised and weaponised to fight a war they didn’t know its cause. For the last four years, no child in the entire Jikany land attends any school because of insecurity,” stressed the community’s statement.

It added, “The defection of the four senior officers of the SPLA-IO [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In-Opposition] is to ensure that there is peace in the entire land of Jikany so that our children can go back to school”.

Meanwhile, the Jikany Nuer community leadership in Ethiopia has called upon all the Jikany in the armed opposition movement to join the peace forces in line with the decisions taken by the four officers.

Their decision, they said, is in line with the position of IGAD [Inter-Governmental Authority on Development] that calls for all armed groups in South Sudan to lay down their weapons and join the implementation of the 2015 peace deal signed in Addis Ababa.