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South Sudan: Kiir Appoints Machar’s Ally as head of Leer Violence Investigation Committee

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Peter Manawa Gatkuoth

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has appointed an ally of the first vice president Riek Machar as the head of the committee tasked to investigate the violence which had erupted in Leer County in Unity state.

Peter Manawa Gatkuoth, who is the minister of water resources and irrigation in the transitional government of national unity will chair a six-member committee.

Gatkuoth will be assisted by the minister of wildlife and conservation Rizik Zachariah Hassan, Abboud Stephen, Kuong Dak Wiu, Chabor Goc Ali, Peter Ruai Gatwech, and Malong Thiik Ring.

The committee, according to the republican order announced on the state-owned television (SSBC), is given a responsibility to “investigate the causes of insecurity incidents that occurred in Leer County, and to come up with measures to deter the occurrence of such incidents in the future.”

It is directed to coopt any relevant members where it deems necessary, and it is expected to report back to Kiir within 14 working days from 13 April.

Kiir cited the 2006 Investigation Committees Act which permits the president to establish committees empowered to conduct hearings, issue summons, collect documents, and issue warrants of arrest for people refusing to appear before the committee without a valid reason.

Multiple sources who spoke to the Sudan Tribune from the area and at the presidency and in the reconstituted transitional national legislature, as well as military contracts, have cited different reasons and motives behind a violent confrontation in several places in Unity state over the past months.

Some sources said the clashes occurred when forces loyal to Machar wanted to prevent those wanting to join a breakaway group.

After the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in September 2018, several factions for multiple reasons the SPLM-IO split and joined the SPLM-M under the leadership of President Salva Kiir.

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