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S. Sudan’s Kiir urges new army chief of staff to improve soldiers’ welfare

May 6, 2018 (JUBA) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir has urged the new army chief of staff, General Gabriel Jok Riak to work towards soldiers’ welfare through timely payment of salaries.

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General Gabriel Jok Riak (Getty Image)

Kiir made the remarks at Riak’s swearing-in occasion held on Friday.

He urged army generals to cooperate and work with the new army chief to enable him accomplish plans started with his predecessor, General James Ajongo Mawut.

Riak, who hails from South Sudan’s Jonglei state, briefly served as acting army chief of staff when Ajongo died in Egypt last month after a short illness.

According to the South Sudanese leader, Riak’s elevation to new army chief was based on his seniority in the country’s national army.

A former deputy army chief of staff, Riak also served as sector commander in Bahr el Ghazal region before moving to the general headquarters for top level assignment at command leadership.

In July 2015, the United Nations Security Council imposed travel bans and asset freezes on Riak, among other senior military officers. The move came after the U.S Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Riak, who was then commander of Sector One of the South Sudanese military, for sanctions.

Kiir, despite the sanctions, promoted Riak to deputy chief of defence forces in December last year.