South Sudan’s president appoints new army chief amid government reshuffle

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South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has appointed General Santino Deng Wol as the new head of the army, Kiir’s spokesman said on Sunday, as part of a wider reshuffle within the government.

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Kiir and former rebel leader Riek Machar formed a government of national unity in February last year following a 2018 peace accord that ended a bloody civil war, but the oil-rich nation remains racked by violence.

The director general of the security services and the deputy minister of defense were also replaced in the reshuffle, Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek told Reuters.

“It was a routine reshuffle,” Wek said, adding that the president had also fired the minister for presidential affairs and replaced him with a former adviser.

South Sudan erupted into civil war soon after securing independence from Sudan in 2011, leading to an estimated 400,000 deaths and one of the worst refugee crises on the continent since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Despite the formation of a government of national unity in 2020, implementation of the 2018 peace accord has stalled and authorities have blocked humanitarian access to areas where conflict has restarted, a recent UN report said.

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