South Sudanese Minister Resigns, Defects To Rebels

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A South Sudanese minister has defected to the rebels, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Friday, becoming the second high-level resignation this week in the war-ravaged nation.

Lieutenant General Gabriel Duop Nam, the minister of Labour, sent a one-page letter saying he would join the rebellion of former vice president Riek Machar.

“I reaffirm my full allegiance and commitment to the … wise leadership of H.E. Dr. Riek Machar,” he wrote.

Two rebel spokesmen confirmed the authenticity of the letter to Reuters. The government spokesman however declined to comment.

Oil-rich South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, was plunged into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired Machar, his deputy and an ethnic Nuer.

The fighting that followed has increasingly followed ethnic lines, and in December the United nations warned that it was setting the stage for genocide. More than three million of the country’s 11 million citizens have been forced to flee their homes.

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