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Warrap information minister resigns over alleged rebel links

February 2, 2014 (JUBA) - Warrap state’s information minister, Nyanaguek Kuol Mareng, has resigned allegedly over reports that she denied that fighting between the army in the capital Juba on December 15 was a coup attempt, contradicting the government’s version of events.

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Warrap state governor poses in a photo with the members of her cabinet on 25 June 2010 (Photo Warrap state)

The government claims that forces loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar tried to seize power from the President Salva Kiir in mid-December. Machar and his supporters all deny attempting to stage a coup but many of them are now leading a rebellion against Kiir’s administration.

Ms Kuol is the first state minister to quit during the current crisis, which has led to 10,000 deaths, according to the International Crisis Group. The United Nations estimates that 740,000 people have been displaced.

Multiple officials and security sources told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that Kuol was forced to resign after she was accused of showing support for Riek Machar and the rebels.

However, Joseph Anei Madoor, director for public relations and political affairs in the office of Warrap’s Governor Nyandeng Malek Deliech, told Sudan Tribune, that Kuol’s resignation was due to personal problems.

"Yes, she has resigned but her decision was prompted by her personal or individual problems that are not connected with our performance as the government", Madoor said on Sunday.

Kuol’s resignation comes after the Director General of South Sudan’s internal security services, Akol Koor Kuc, flew to Kuacjok, the capital of Warrap state, on Saturday on a special flight from Juba.

The trip is believed to have been to present evidence to Governor Nyandeng Malek Deliech that Kuol is somehow connected to Machar’s rebels - SPLM/A In Opposition.

According to a well placed security source, Kuc held a meeting with the state governor, her deputy, her advisor on security and the information minister, during which he displayed a video clip producing evidence about the activities of the minister.

Four charges were brought against the minister of information, the security source told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

The first charge was that she was found talking to individuals, including Deng Alor, who are considered loyal to the former vice president Riek Machar before and after they were accused and arrested on suspicions that they were playing to mobilise the public against the government prior to the December 15 clash within the presidential guard force in Juba.

Another charge is that she denied in an interview with state radio that what happened in Juba, on December 15 last year, was an attempted coup to depose president Salva Kiir Mayardit from power, but was a clash within the presidential guards.

The third charge was that she accused South Sudan’s army - the SPLA - of targeting Nuer civilians in Juba and said that that soldiers who committed the attacks should be held responsible.

The last charge was that she denounced pro-government protesters in January with placards carrying slogans against Riek Machar, arguing that the group had little evidence to prove that the former had planned to carry out a coup.

(ST)