South Sudan VP rejects new defence minister

South Sudan’s Vice-President Riek Machar, who is also the leader of the opposition SPLM-IO party, has rejected the appointment of Gen Chol Thon Balok as the new defence minister.

The general is from President Salva Kiir’s party and replaces Angelina Teny, Mr Machar’s wife, who was sacked a few weeks ago.

A peace deal that ended a brutal five-year civil war splits cabinet posts between Mr Kiir’s and Mr Machar’s parties.

The SPLM-IO has urged Mr Kiir to revoke Gen Thon’s appointment, saying the president should not take such unilateral decisions until the row over the sacking is resolved with his deputy.

The developments threaten the fragile agreement signed in 2018 that is intended to pave the way for elections next year.

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