Mayom County authorities in Unity State said it received about 400 armed youth who returned from Warrap State and Abyei Administrative Area on Sunday, as spiritual leader Gai Machiek allegedly refused to return home.
The state government said the comeback implements President Kiir’s order to relocate the armed youth and a spiritual leader to their ancestral land in Unity, or anywhere in South Sudan, other than Warrap and Abyei.
“Mayom County authorities received 400-armed youth involved in the conflict between Twic and Ngok communities as a response to the call and order of H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued in January this year,” the statement reads.
The armed youth previously displaced to Warrap and Abyei by floods, came back to Mayom County and were received by Mayom County Commissioner Luka Chierey Riek and traditional authorities.
Commissioner Chierey said the return of the youth is a crucial step in mitigating the conflict that has killed nearly 100 people including United Nations peacekeeper in less than two weeks.
Mr. Chierey Riek further called upon the national and state government to facilitate the return of hundreds of civilians stranded in UNISFA camp in Abyei Town, by providing a safe passage to Mayom County.
However, the armed youth leader, one Mr. Joseph Baguiey reportedly said Gai Machiek, the notorious spiritual leader accused of involvement in the conflict has refused to return to Unity State.
“The youth representative said most of the Nuer youth in Abyei and Twic County accept the orders of president to return to Nuer Land, but some of the youth with spiritual leader Gai Machiek in Ajackuach Payam of Twic County refused to come back,” said the statement.
The armed youth who returned to Mayom are said to have surrendered their firearms to the local government in exchange for an amnesty.
On January 29, 2024, the government of Warrap said the spiritual leader Gai Machiek accused on several occasions of being involved in the escalating violence in the region, was ready to leave the state.
Machiek has been accused multiple times, along with Twic and armed youth from Mayom County of Unity State, of involvement in attacks on Abyei, the latest of which were on 27th and 28th of January, and 2nd and 3rd of February, where about 80 people were killed.
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