President Kiir meets Chollo king over Upper Nile unrest

By Philip Buda Ladu

President Salva Kiir Mayardit has met at State house J1 with the king of Chollo Kingdom to discuss modalities on how they can arrest the appalling situation in the restive northern Upper Nile Chollo kingdom areas.

The president last Friday rescued the King of Chollo Kingdom, His Majesty Reth Kwongo Dak Padiet who was airlifted to Juba from Fashoda after being threatened with beheading by armed groups.  

“Now there is war in Upper Nile, I don’t know who is behind that war …. We found that the Chollo King was threatened – there were voices from those who are fighting asking for his head,” the President said during the opening of the 3-day SPLM National Liberation Council Meeting on Friday.  

Kiir’s meeting with King Kwongo comes amid reports of serious unrest in the Upper Nile region as UNHCR reported that over 7,000 civilians had fled to the protection of civilian sites due to communal armed violence targeting civilians leaving unconfirmed numbers dead.

The president now seeks the wisdom of the Chollo King, His Majesty Kwongo to find a lasting solution to the recurring circle of bloody intra and inter-communal violence being worsened by militias in the Shilluk kingdom.

Yesterday President Salva Kiir met with His Majesty Reth Kwongo Dak Padiet, the King of Chollo Kingdom currently in Juba to discuss ways to end the ongoing violence in the Upper Nile Region.

Speaking to the Press after the meeting, the Presidential Advisor on National Security Affairs, Hon. Tut Galuak Manime said the meeting also discussed the need for peace to rein in the Greater Upper Nile region.

Tut further explained that the President is deeply saddened about the ongoing violence in the area and called upon the leaders of Greater Upper Nile to also join hands in resolving the violence in the area for people to live in peace and harmony.

Meanwhile, on his part, King Kwongo called upon the people of Upper Nile to shun violence and join hands to work together to restore peace, unity and development in the area.

According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report, continued fighting among armed groups in the area has displaced 8,000 civilians in Fashoda County.

UN agency said armed youth locally known as the White Army is behind the attacks and burning of villages including Kodok and other locations.

OCHA said since the conflict started along the River Nile in mid-August, over 18,000 civilians have sought shelter at Malakal PoC, adding that the IDPs’ situation between the two communities remains tense.

Meanwhile, SPLM/A-IO Kitgwang Declaration under Simon Gatwech and his former ally Johnson Olony of Agwelek are locked up in a fierce blame game over who bears the responsibility for the atrocities committed against civilians in Upper Nile State.

President had earlier called for collective responsibility towards ending the war in the greater Upper Nile which is ruining livelihood.

He had also directed the SSPDF Chief of Defense Forces to respond to the urgent need for military intervention in Upper Nile by deploying the recently graduated unified SSPDF forces to rescue the situation on the ground.

SSPDF Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai said the preparations are underway to translate the political statements of the president’s orders into military actions, adding they are putting some few logistical arrangements to dispatch the force to restive Northern Upper Nile.

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