Fighting breaks out between SPLA-IO forces and armed civilians in Maiwut
July 31st 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – Fierce fighting has erupted in South Sudan’s Maiwut state between armed civilians and main armed opposition forces loyal to the country’s First Vice-President designate, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, opposition officials and resident said Wednesday.
A resident of Maiwut who spoke to Nyamilepedia on condition of anonymity this afternoon said the fighting broke out at a place called Lolieng, 1KM outside Maiwut town, and Meth which which is 5KM away.
“The fighting broke out just few kilometers outside the center of Maiwut between armed civilians and troops that belongs to the SPLA-IO led by Dr. Riek Machar,” the resident said adding that the fighting has continued since then.
Another resident said heavy gunfire can still be heard outside Maiwut town amid civilians casualties.
For his part, a SPLM-IO official familiar with some differences within the main armed opposition leadership in Maiwut state said fighting broke out this morning between armed civilians following a dispute with SPLM-IO governor of Adar state over the appointment of a person they didn’t want as commissioner of Maiwut County.
“Fighting broke out between the SPLM-IO and [armed] civilians. There has been a dispute since the governor of Adar State Stephen Pal Kun stepped in[to] power … it started when Stephen Pal Kun appointed Maiwut County commissioner from Cie-Chany the second largest community in Maiwut but Cie-Waw the largest community said that Maiwut belong to them and there is no need for Pal Kun to appoint commissioner from Cie-Chany community,” the source said.
“Therefore, this scenario led to misunderstanding between Cie-Waw and the leadership of Adar State under Pal Kun,” the source added.
The same source further told the Nyamilepedia that the governor had been given an ultimatum by Ciewaw to appoint their son as a commissioner but the governor instead relieved the previous commissioner only to appoint a person from Fangak as a caretaker angering Ciewaw.
“Stephen Pal Kun was given ultimatum to appoint Commissioner from Cie-waw but he failed to do so until the military leadership under him appointed care taker from Fangak by the name Wawich … in order to stop the dispute between Cie-waw and Pal Kun’s leadership,” the source said.
Another source said Ciewaw had sought the impeachment of Pal Kuon as governor of Adar state but there was a huge disagreement between senior opposition officials in the state. The source added that the cause of the fighting remains unclear but may be a result of this misunderstanding.
“…. this may be the cause of the fighting but I don’t have full details yet,” the source said.