The Unity state government is enraged that the local state-run radio put rebel commander Gatluak Gai on air, where he was introduced as a Lt. General and criticized southern authorities. Gatluak was one of several leaders who rebelled against the Juba government following elections last April.
The Council of Ministers in Unity State has condemned state-run Radio Bentiu, which brought renegade colonel Gatluak Gai on to its show.
Renegade Gatluak Gai formerly served as a colonel in the Prisons services in Unity State before he rebelled after national elections last April, where he supported an independent candidate against Gov. Taban Deng Gai, who won the election amid claims that the vote was rigged.
He is still fighting against the government. Earlier this month, right before the start of the referendum, his forces started new attacks in Unity state.
On air, the radio director general hosting the rebel, Mamun Diew Kai, introduced Gatluak Gai as a Lt. General, the rank he has promoted himself to since the rebellion.
Speaking in Nuer, Gatluak Gai told listeners that the government's peace interventions have not been serious.
“I spoke with the vice president over a phone, Riek cautioned me that I’m destroying the peace of Southerners, and he said that he would capture me and take me to Juba. I was angry on that point and told the vice president,[and told him just that]. He never gave me a call again to make peace,” Gai said.
Gai also complained that he has received unfair treatment at the hands of local authorities.
“One thing I hate was when I took arms against the state government was my cows were taken by my commissioner and I warned him. Why do you take my cows and when George Athor took arms in Jonglei state no property was taken from him? I have to increase the attacks because they took my properties and my house in Koch County in Unity State,” Gai asserted.
The council of ministers condemned the renegade for promoting himself to such a high rank, and called up on the state Minister of Information and Communication to immediately go on Radio Bentui and correct the unintended statement.
The state Minister of Information and Communication Gideon Gatpan Thaor apologized to the public and the South Sudan government for the false rank given on air.
While addressing listeners on Radio Bentiu, renegade Gatluak Gai confirmed his willingness to reach a peace deal with the state and Southern Sudan government.