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Lou Nuer’s Sons tells President Salva to stop using them as scapegoat

The leadership of the Lou Nuer Youth in Akobo is dismayed to learn that President Salva Kiir Mayardit is using a son of Lou Nuer as a scapegoat to dismantle the R-ARCISS signed in 2018. For the last two weeks, the entire Lou Nuer nation had heard rumors alleging that a Lou Nuer son of Bil Lual called Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin was implicated in the removal of Hon. Angelina Teny from the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs.
In order to ascertain the rumors, the Lou Nuer Youth took steps to investigate the allegations by contacting Dr. Barnaba Marial himself who narrated to us his side of the story.

Based on that, the Lou Nuer Youth decided to issue a public statement in defense of our son whose name is being dragged in the mud by nobody other than President Salva Kiir himself. Our leadership is therefore informing South Sudan public and the international community as to what exactly happened as follows:

On March 1st, 2023, President Salva Kiir summoned Dr. Barnaba Maria Benjamin to hand a written letter to the leader of the SPLM/A IO, Dr. Riek Machar, requesting his consent to swap the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs with the Ministry of Interior. Dr. Benjamin took the letter to Dr. Riek Machar who responded on March 2nd rejecting the request of the President. Dr. Benjamin met President Salva Kiir at 2:30 PM on March 2nd and gave him the letter of Dr. Riek Machar and informed him verbally that Dr. Riek Machar rejected the idea to swap the two Ministries.

On March 3rd, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin left Juba for Doha to attend the conference on Less Developed Countries. In the same day in the evening, President Salva Kiir issued two decrees removing Hon. Angelina Teny and swapping the two ministries. When President Kiir issued the decrees, Dr. Benjamin was already in Nairobi in transit to Qatar.

On March 6th, the SPLM/A IO issued a statement rejecting the unilateral action of the President which violated the provisions of the R-ARCISS. On March 7th, Vice President Hussein Abdelbhagi Ayii, Vice President Taban Deng Gai, Hon. Tut Gatluak and Dr. Benjamin Bol Mel met the President to discuss the standoff between him and the 1st Vice President. To the surprise of these men, the President alleged that he was “misled” by Dr. Benjamin who told him that Dr. Riek Machar accepted the two ministries to be swapped.
The Lou Nuer Youth would like to enlighten the people of South Sudan in general and the international community in particular that our son, Dr. Benjamin, did not mislead the President in regard to the removal of Hon. Angelina Teny and the swapping of the two ministries. What the President said by blackmailing our son is his usual politics of scapegoatism. The same President unilaterally removed the SPLM/A IO Speaker of Jonglei State Legislative Assembly and Commissioner of Twic County. The question the people of South Sudan should pose is whether he was also “misled” by the son of Bil Lual to issue the decrees in violation of the R-ARCISS.
If people read the notes of late Dr. John Garang, they would find out that Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin is one of the SPLM/A diplomats who were highly respected by him. When Pope Francis visited Juba on February 3rd, Dr. Benjamin was the Master of Ceremony who officiated the prayers of Pope Francis. As a devout Catholic, his integrity was noted by Pope Francis himself who prayed for him to safeguard the implementation of R-ARCISS. Contrary to the allegation of the President, he has nothing to do with the unilateral action taken by Kiir to dismantle R-ARCISS. Since President Kiir decided to dismantle R-ARCISS one month after the visit of the Pope, we are advising him not to drag the name of our son into the mud of spiritual condemnation. The God of Pope Francis will not forgive those destroying the peace agreement in South Sudan.

For further inquiries:
Peter Gai Gual
President of Lou Nuer Youth
Akobo, South Sudan

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