Biem promises to allow Machiek back to Mayom

Biem promises to allow Machiek back to Mayom

The governor of Unity State, Riek Biem, promised to address the woes of spiritual leader, Gai Machiek.

In an exclusive interview with The City Review on Tuesday, Biem said he plans to take Machiek back to his hometown in Mayom County after a dialogue.

“Regarding the issue of Chief Gai Machiek, there has been a directive issued by the President a few months ago that Gai Machiek has been ordered to make one of the two choices, come to this state or he goes away from Warrap to other states because there are a lot of accusations against him,” Biem said.

He stated that he would speak with Machiek to find out the specifics of what transpired and resolve the matter, promising to address the sticky issues with the previous administration if any.

“I will meet Gai Machiek and he will tell me what his problem is. And if his problem is the people of the Unity State, he will tell me if it is the former leadership; then now I am a different person I can handle it,” he stated.

In December 2023, tensions erupted in the Abyei Special Administrative Area where local authorities accused the SSPDF and the Nuer armed youth loyal to Gai Machiek and Twic-Dinka youth of often attacking their youth.

However, fighting in early December left dozens of people dead. On New Year’s Eve, the deputy chief administrator of the disputed territory was ambushed and killed by suspected armed youth from Twic Mayardit in Warrap State.

President Kiir then called for calm among the Ngok-Dinka and Twic-Dinka and ordered the spiritual leader to move to a different country.

On May 21, 2023, Machiek relocated to Panyok Payam in the western part of Twic County to avoid further complaints from the two neighbouring communities to adhere to President Salva Kiir’s order.

Machiek’s armed youth and their cattle remained in Ajakuach Payam on the border between Twic and Mayom counties.

Gai Machiek is a spiritual leader from Mayom County, Unity State. He left for Warrap in 2021 after being banished by the late Mayom County Commissioner, Gen. Chuol Gatluak, following allegations that he was loyal to Gen. Stephen Buay Rolnyang, a former Unity State’s Fourth Infantry Division commander who was demoted from the rank of general to line private by the leadership of SPLM/A.

Machiek, who had no other alternative, opted to convince armed youth from his clan and other youth from Bul Nuer to join him.