Kiir orders removal of controversial spiritual leader from Warrap State

Kiir orders removal of controversial spiritual leader from Warrap State
A photo of unknown Nuer Spiritual leader in Unity State [Photo: Courtesy]

A photo of unknown Nuer Spiritual leader in Unity State [Photo: Courtesy]

President Salva Kiir on Tuesday ordered the expulsion of spiritual leader Gai Machiek and armed youth from Warrap State to curb the escalating violence between Twic-Dinka and Ngok-Dinka.

In a Republican decree seen by The City Review on Wednesday, Kiir demanded the urgent removal of the spiritual leader in order to end the hostilities between the two communities.

“The security forces must ensure that Mr. Gai Machiek… is expelled from Ajak Kuac Area of Warrap State and peacefully returns either to Unity State or moves to another state of his choice within the Bahr el Ghazal region other than Warrap State and Abyei Special Administrative Area,” the document detailing the directive read partly.

He said security forces should also flush out some armed youth residing in the conflict area and relocate them to another state, if not Mayom, where they came from.

“The security forces must also ensure that the Nuer youths present in Twic and Ngok areas are moved back to the Nuer land or away from the areas of conflict of states such as Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal or Lakes,” it said.

In recent months, tensions have 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.

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.

Kiir called for the cessation of hostility between the Ngok-Dinka and Twic-Dinka and called for the security forces to order that the issued directives be immediately implemented.

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 young from Bul Nuer to join him.

He fled to Warrap State’s Ajak Kuac Payam following attempts to confiscate his cattle at Bieh Nyang Payam in Mayom County.

Machiek was accused by the Twic County commissioner of having a hand in the killing of the Deputy Chief Administrator of Abyei, Mr. Noon Deng, with his four bodyguards.