South Sudan Swears in New Governors Amid Warning Over Peace Dealby
Leaders appointed for country's 28 restructured states
Rebel delegation in capital says move may violate August pact
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir swore in governors for the country’s restructured 28 states as rebels said the move violates an August pact that seeks to end the oil-producing nation’s two-year civil war.
The president in October decreed a rise in the number of states from 10, altering boundaries, names and regional capitals. The slow enactment of the peace agreement won’t stop the government from going forward with its own development plans, Kiir said Tuesday at the swearing-in ceremony in the capital, Juba.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and over two million forced from their homes since South Sudan’s war erupted in in December 2013. Under the August deal, rebel leader Riek Machar will return as Kiir’s deputy for a 30-month transitional period leading to elections.
The leader of a 150-strong rebel team that recently arrived in the city, Taban Deng Gai, warned that the reorganization of territories conflicted with the deal that was signed on the basis of 10 states. “Anyone who wants 28 states should wait for the permanent constitution-making,” he told reporters Tuesday in Juba. The European Union and the so-called troika, comprising the U.K., U.S. and Norway, voiced similar concerns in October.
Kiir told the new governors there was no contradiction. “The agreement is in place and we are implementing it,” he said. “So please, you support this agreement and tell people in the states to support it,” welcome the rebel delegates “and protect their security.”