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South Sudanese rebels appoint governor for Jonglei state

May 31, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan’s armed opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) has appointed a governor for Jonglei state in a latest order by the opposition leader, Riek Machar.

Alier Samuel Ateny Lueth has become the opposition’s first governor of Jonglei state, a partial territory cut from the previously known Jonglei which the rebel group has divided into four new federal states of Bieh, Pow, Pibor and Jonglei.

The new Jonglei state will now comprise mainly of the Greater Bor counties of Duk, Twic East and Bor.

The new 21 federal states in the country, rebels said, were based on the old districts established by the British colonial administration before 1956 when former Sudan, from which South Sudan split in 2011, became independent.

The order for Alier’s appointment, which copy was extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, came into effect on 30 May.

Several governors have been appointed in the past by the opposition leadership for the newly created federal states. SPLM-IO said the governors would establish civil administrations in the rebel controlled areas as well as provide security for the civil populations and coordinate humanitarian interventions in cooperation and coordination with the humanitarian wing of the rebel movement and non-governmental organisations.

The rebels presented their position paper at the negotiating table in Addis Ababa demanding to restructure South Sudan as a state on the basis of federalism, a demand the government rejected, deferring it to a future permanent constitutional making process for consideration.

Other voices from within the government called for a referendum vote by the people whether they would want federalism or not. But the opposition faction argued that federalism has been a popular demand of the people of South Sudan since 1947 and it would be a waste of resources and time to conduct a referendum.

However, a conference at Nyakuron Culture Center in Juba early this year by representatives of the 64 ethnic communities in South Sudan passed a resolution calling on the parties to the conflict to adopt federalism in the would-be peace agreement in Addis Ababa as the system of governance to be implemented in the transitional period.

No public official reaction yet from the government on the resolutions of the collective tribal leadership.