Kiir Mayardit, Salva

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Salva Kiir Mayardit, 1951–, South Sudanese political and military leader. A member of the Dinka ethnic group and a Christian, in the 1960s he joined the southern Sudanese rebellion, becoming a member of the Anya Nya separatist forces. After the 1972 peace accord, Kiir joined the Sudanese army, ultimately becoming a lieutenant colonel. In the second southern rebellion (1983–)2005, he was one of the founders of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), main southern rebel group, and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the SPLA's political arm, and eventually headed the SPLA forces. After the death in 2005 of SPLM leader John Garang, who had become Sudanese vice president and S Sudan regional president after the peace agreement earlier in the year, Kiir succeeded him. Reelected S Sudan president in 2010, he became South Sudan's first president after it became an independent nation in 2011.