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South Sudan mourns fallen war veteran

July 16, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudanese from various political entities are mourning Kawac Makuei Mayar, one of the founding commanders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 1983.

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Kawac Makuei Mayar, one of the founding commanders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 1983 (File photo)

Mayar died on Saturday after returning from a medical trip to Cairo, Egypt, but the cause of his death remains unclear and family members are yet to make a statement on the matter.

Former deputy defense Minister Majak D’ Agoot on Sunday described the late Kawac as “not just any other commander”.

He trekked to reach Bilpam in Ethiopia together with other prominent south Sudanese personalities, including Victor Bol, Lual Diing Wol, Amon Wantok, and Marco Maciec in 1983 to unify the struggle.

They were held up after the initial split in Itang in Lou Nuer by forces loyal to Uncle Akuot and Col. Samuel Gai for the rest of the year. They blamed this delay on the madness of Upper Nile leaders.

However, in November 1983 Kawac and Victor Bol decided to march away under intense pursuit and pressure from AnyaNya II to reach the Ethiopian border and join Col. Garang. Forces under William Nyuon reportedly intervened to rescue the rest - especially those from Lakes state who remained behind.

The men he led to Ethiopia formed part of the Tiger and Tumsah Brigade. The former deputy chief said he went to the SPLM political school with some of those who trekked to Ethiopia with him like Sultan Kom Geng Atem, Aluk Akec, Marco Maciec, Amon Wantok, Michael Manao, and Marial Chanuong."

The veteran officer was commissioned a Lt Col and led the Jamus-Wau Battalion that brought elements of AnyaNya II to the SPLA that constituted the Mour Mour Division including former chief of general staff Paul Malong and Luka Lual Riny.

He reportedly fell out with deputy chairman Kerubino Kuanyin Bol and later with late founder leader, John Garang following the death of Benjamin Bol Akok in Addis Ababa in September 1984 which led to his 7 years detention. He was released in 1991 but given the bitterness, he never had faith in the SPLM".

He later left and became a governor for Aweil after the Khartoum’s peace agreement.

The presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said the death of Kawac was “untimely”, “shocking” and “exceedingly agonizing”, adding that the late Kawac has left insurmountable legacy.

Other leading figures in the government and in other communities said Kawac had unmatched principle, with many describing him as a great patriot who was never swayed by lust for wealth and power.

(ST)