9 July - Citizens of Wau, Western Bahr El-Ghazal State, marched from the city's peace playground to the state government general secretariat today in marking the birth of the new Republic of South Sudan.
Led by soldiers of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the procession also included SPLA wounded war heroes, police, prison guards, firemen, wildlife officers and as citizens of Wau town.
At the secretariat, Brig. Rizik Zakaria Hassan lowered the flag of the Republic of Sudan and raised the flag of the Republic of South Sudan to the accompaniment of the national anthem played by the police band.
The procession then marched to Wau Stadium, where speeches were made by Acting Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) State Chairman Anthony Joseph Kpandu, SPLA Division Five Commander in Wau Gen. Andrea Dominic and State Governor Brig. Rizik Zakaria Hassan.
"I am very much delighted to be here today as we celebrate the independence of our country," said Chairman Kpandu, acknowledging the SPLA's vital role during the 21-year civil war.
The SPLM chairman also saluted SPLA war-disabled, thanking them for their heroic role and urging South Sudanese to provide them with necessary support.
Assuring the crowd of stability in the new nation, Gen. Dominic said, "The boat has crossed the river and will never come back since we are here to defend it."
He assured the gathering that the military would defend the new nation's borders, citizens and property. The SPLA commander then called on northern traders in Wau and other parts of the country to freely conduct their business, urging people to remain calm and work for the betterment of South Sudan.
Governor Hassan encouraged citizens to lay aside tribalism, bribery and laziness, urging them to support the government in maintaining security and bringing about development. "I congratulate you for the new-born child that is the Republic of South Sudan," he said.
The governor said that he and his counterparts in other states as well as President Salva Kiir in Juba were raising South Sudan's new flag on behalf of citizens who elected them and gave them the power to guide and lead.
"Are you able to defend our flag that we have just raised or take up arms again?" he questioned, stating that South Sudan had been at war due to marginalization, injustice, egoism and tribalism.
The Governor later visited Wau Central prison, where he declared the release of 23 inmates and donated items like sugar, soap and bulls for the prisoners to celebrate.