January 1, 2015 (JUBA) – An official from the Greater Pibor Area Administration (GPAA) has described as false reports of a military build-up allegedly orchestrated by members of the South Sudan Democratic Movement (SSDM) Cobra Faction in Pibor county, after last week’s removal of their administrator David Yau Yau from the leadership of the area.
In 2014, the SSDM-Cobra Faction reached a deal with the government and was granted permission to rule the GPPA under provisions of a 2013 peace deal made with Yau Yau.
Last week, however, President Salva Kiir appointed the deputy governor of Jonglei state Baba Medan as the governor of Boma state, which currently includes the GPPA territory.
Sam David, a former spokesperson for the GPPA also denied reports of military tensions. He, however, said citizens of Greater Pibor Area were disappointed by the president’s decree.
“The local people who are murmuring and talking ill of the new governor, right now they have left the town for the far villages around Pibor, but hopefully things will be okay soon,” he told Radio Tamajuz.
“Yau Yau as the former governor of Bama State has no problem… he wants peace in Greater Pibor or Boma State… but in all of the seven counties that we have the citizens are wondering why Yau Yau was removed and another person was brought who has been staying in Bor,” he added.
In a related development, Medan denied rumours that supporters of the SSDM-Cobra Faction killed his father after president Kiir appointed him among the 28 state governors.
Meanwhile, the South Sudanese presidential envoy on Pibor affairs has defended the decision by Kiir to dissolve the GPPA, saying Yau Yau’s rebel movement had demanded the creation of a state independent from Jonglei, which he claimed had been achieved.
Akot Lual Areech, who was one of the lead negotiators with Yau Yau’s faction and also said Thursday the president had consulted Yau Yau before dissolving all institutions in the GPAA and the subsequent decision to appoint Medan the Boma state governor.
“The people of greater Pibor were demanding the creation of a state of their own and this has been fulfilled. They now have a state of their own,” said Areech, adding, “The agreement which the government signed with Cobra Faction was a means to achieving the vision of a new state. It was what people wanted and they have gotten it.”
He responding to controversies surrounding the appointment of the Boma state governor.
“The question of who should be the leader has been answered by the people of Greater Pibor already. They made their nomination and the president acted in accordance with the desire of the people,” he told Radio Tamajuz.
“I don’t think people will support any activity that will undermine peace and recovery. Such activities will not be in the interest of the people of greater Pibor, who now need peace and recovery programs. They want to rebuild their livelihoods from the experience of the past conflict,” he added.