Who is President Salva Kiir Mayaardit?
By PaanLuel Wël & Simon Yel Yel, Juba, South Sudan
- Birth, Childhood and Education
He was the commanding officer, a captain in charge of the national army, at the Bentiu military garrison, when Chevron discovered oil in Unity state in 1978.
Because he could not be trusted by Khartoum, being a southerner and ex-Anyanya officer, he was immediately transferred to Malakal, and northern troops under northern command were brought in and placed in charge of the newly discovered southern oilfields.
In 1994, he survived a plane crash in Kapenguria, Kenya, when a chartered plane he was travelling in from Wilson Airport, Nairobi, to Nimule fell from over 25,000 feet, killing all passengers including the pilot, except Salva Kiir and his body guard.
He escaped unscathed, with only minor injuries to his arm. As president, he later survived a joint Egyptian-Sudanese assassination plot on his life, according to Wikileak Dossier.
He is the only surviving founding member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). He has been described as the ‘Biblical Joshua’ who led his beleaguered people to the “Promised Land shortly after the rise and fall of Moses.”
His name is President Salva Kiir Mayaardit, the current president of the Republic of South Sudan.
Kiir Kuethpiny Thiik Atem—popularly known as Salva Kiir Mayaardit—was born on the 13th of September, 1951, into a pastoral Dinka family in Akon village of the Awan-Chan Dinka Community, Gogrial District in Warrap state in the Bahr el Ghazal Region of the historical Sudan. He was the eighth of the family’s nine children—six boys and three girls—born to Kuethpiny Thiik Atem of Awan-Chan (Payum clan) and Awiei Rou Wol Tong of Awan-Chan (Payii clan), both of Gogrial Dinka from the REK Dinka community.