South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir fired six ministers allied to his long-time rival Riek Machar late on Tuesday, widening a political rift in the world’s newest nation and drawing threats of more fighting.
This comes after he country’s agriculture minister and opposition figure Lam Akol resigned on Tuesday, claiming there was no more peace agreement to implement in Juba.
The president dismissed the ministers of the interior, petroleum, higher education, labour, water, as well as lands and housing in a statement read out on state television.
Kiir filled the vacant posts, including petroleum minister, with people linked to a breakaway faction of Machar’s SPLM-IO party, further aggravating divisions at the conflict ridden country.
Last week, Kiir replaced Machar with Taban Deng Gai as the country’s Vice President which is against the provisions of the August 2015 peace agreement, which states that any replacement must come from either of the three partners that signed the deal.
The latest UN statistics indicate that around 60,000 people have fled clashes between the two men’s supporters over the past three weeks, on top of the hundreds of thousands already forced out of their homes by two years of ethnically-charged violence.