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Acting SPLM secretary-general visits Lakes state as inter-clan clashes intensify

March 14, 2014 (RUMBEK) – South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) acting secretary general made a surprise visit Thursday to the Lakes state capital, Rumbek amid rising cases of inter-clan clashes in the region.

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Anne Itto, the deputy chairperson of the SPLM party (ST/File)

Anne Itto, as part of her visit, held separate meetings with only two senior state officials, including the caretaker Governor, Maj. Gen Matur Chut Dhuol.

At the close-door meeting, Itto reportedly urged the caretaker governor to cooperate with party members in the state and encouraged community mobilization in support of President Salva Kiir.

She also held another meeting with the SPLM state secretary, Mabor Ater Dhuol at the party secretariat.

“She [Itto] urged the SPLM secretariat to insert moral to the community especially youth to support the incumbent president,” a source told Sudan Tribune.

“The Lakes state SPLM secretary, Mabor Ater Dhuol had presented a series of violations committed by Lakes state caretaker governor to SPLM Acting secretary general,” added the source, who questioned if the violations were within the SPLM manifesto.

Ater reportedly complained that the governor, on several occasion, bypassed the ruling party structures while making decision, which he said was against the SPLM regulations.

Itto, who spent about five hours in Rumbek, urged party members in the state to work towards harmony and cooperation at all levels of the south-ruling party structures.

“I need harmony and cooperation with the executive, you should cooperate to mobilize Lakes state communities to support President Kiir at this hardship of rebellion,” the acting SPLM secretary general told a briefing shortly after the meetings.

A campaign is already underway by Lakes state authorities to isolate the caretaker governor whose underhand approach of ruling has been widely opposed by youth and activists in the state.

Traditional chiefs, students and activists have called on president Kiir to remove Dhuol, but public demands have so far been overlooked. Under South Sudan’s constitution, an election should be held within 90 days, in the event that the president removes a governor from office.

However, in the three states where governors were removed last year this has yet to occur.