President Salva Kiir at Loa Parish, Pageri on Saturday, November 18, 2023 | Credit | Presidential Press Unit/Facebook
President Kiir has called for unity among South Sudanese, urging them to shun tribalism to embrace peace and stability in the country.
Kiir made the call in Loa Parish, Pageri Payam, Magwi County, during the event marking the 30th memorial anniversary of his late wife Achol Philip Nhial, who died in 1993. She was buried in Pageri.
South Sudan has 64 tribes with the largest being the Dinka, who constitute about 35% of the population and predominate in government, according to reports. The second largest are the Nuer.
The country descended into deadly conflict shortly after gaining independence in July 2011, reportedly claiming nearly 400,000 lives, tearing the social fabric, destroying infrastructure, and leaving survivors with mental health scars.
“President Kiir has called for unity among South Sudanese, urging them to shun tribalism to embrace peace and stability in the country,” writes the president’s official Facebook page.
Many believe that the conflicts are caused by ethno-political wrangling and competition amongst the elite over access to power and financial resources.
They attribute the December 2013 conflict to power wrangle between President Salva Kiir, a Dinka; and Dr Riek Machar, a Nuer.
In 2016, the renewed conflict escalated, resulting in reported targeting of travelers of Dinka heritage along the Juba-Nimule Road.
Some would be dragged out from vehicles and killed in cold blood, because they were ‘unwanted goods’ or MTN-Everywhere you go’.
Some activists suggest that public offices employ individuals based on their ethnic backgrounds.