Twic County chiefs demonstrated against President Salva Kiir's order ejecting Gai Machiek from Warrap State. (File photo)

Spiritual Leader Gai Machiek relocated to Twic County’s Panyok Payam

Gai Machiek, a Nuer spiritual leader from Unity State’s Mayom County who has been domiciled in Twic County’s Ajak Kuach Payam in Warrap State, was at the weekend forcefully relocated to Panyok Payam in the southern part of the county.

Gai Machiek, a Nuer spiritual leader from Unity State’s Mayom County who has been domiciled in Twic County’s Ajak Kuach Payam in Warrap State, was at the weekend forcefully relocated to Panyok Payam in the southern part of the county.

Machiek spent three years in Ajak Kuach Payam after fleeing his home area in Mayom County due to misunderstandings with the authorities there after rebel General Stephen Buoy Rolnyang and his Sudan People’s Movement/Army (SSPM/A) launched a series of attacks in Unity State.

Followers and armed youth loyal to the spiritual leader have also been faulted for fomenting violent conflict and participating in the fighting on the side of elements from Twic County against the Ngok Dinka of Abyei in a dispute over boundaries between the two neighboring communities. His presence in Twic County also created tensions between Unity State’s Mayom County and Warrap State’s Twic County which are neighbors.

Sultan Manoon Ater Guot Chol, a relative of Gai Machiek, told Radio Tamazuj at the weekend that Machiek has moved to Panyok Payam in the western part of Twic County to avoid further disputes between the neighboring communities of Warrap and Unity states.

“We, the relatives of Spiritual Leader Gai Machiek, were ordered to relocate from Ajak Kuach Payam to Panyok Payam by the SSPDF Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Santino Deng Wol, the National Security director, and other forces. We were not given a clear reason for this relocation,” he explained. “We moved to Panyok Payam in the western part of Twic County due to complaints from neighboring communities of Abyei, Ngok Dinka, and Nuer of Mayom County. Gai Machiek is here with me now in Panyok Payam.”

Ater also highlighted that the directive to eject Machiek came from President Salva Kiir and was implemented by the heads of the country’s security forces last Friday.

The local authorities and communities in Twic County however say Gai Machiek has been a key figure in promoting peace between the Nuer and Dinka communities since his arrival in Ajak Kuach, contributing to stability in Warrap and Unity states.

The commissioner of Twic, Simon Aguok, confirmed that Gai Machiek was relocated to Panyok Payam after three years in Ajak Kuach Payam.

He said a delegation including the Chief of the SSPDF, National Security Internal Security Bureau Director General Gen. Akol Koor and other security chiefs, and the governor of Warrap State, arrived in Twic County on Friday and Saturday, informed Gai Machiek of his relocation to Panyok Payam.

“The reason for the relocation was not disclosed to us by the committee was acting on the president’s directives,” Commissioner Aguok said.