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Taban Deng Gai

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Unity state governor, Taban Deng Gai in Bentiu, Unity state, April 5, 2012 (ST)

Name: Taban Deng Gai

Position: Former Governor of Unity State, South Sudan.

Tribe: Nuer

Career: Employed by the Chevron Oil Company before joining the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in the 1980s. In charge of distributing relief supplies in both Itag and Nasir, Upper Nile State during the civil war.

Gai was one of the commanders who participated in the 1991 ’Nasir’ Split in the SPLA, which was led by Riek Machar.

He rejoined the SPLA before the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which brought the SPLM to power in South Sudan, and led to the region’s secession from Sudan in 2011.

In 2010 Gai was retained the Governorship of Unity State in controversial elections against Machar’s wife Angelina Teny, who ran as an independent.

His military rank was withdrawn in February 2013 as part of reform to South Sudan’s amry (SPLA).

On 7 July 2013 Gai was removed from his position as governor of Unity state by president Salva Kiir. No official reason was given for the move but Gai and others claimed that he was removed because he was rumoured to be supporting Riek Machar’s bid for the presidency in 2015. Gai dismissed the accusation and that he was being lined up as Machar’s running mate.


James, W. 2007. War and Survival in Sudan’s Frontierlands. James Currey, Oxford


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