July 9, 2012 (RUMBEK) - Cueibet County in the west of South Sudan’s Lakes State, has had to postpone planned independence day celebrations due to severe insecurity caused by clashes between rival ethnic groups.
- Lakes State security services patrolling in Rumbek as Lakes State celebrates South Sudan’s first year of independence, 9 July 2012 (ST)
Lakes State’s council of ministers, in consultation with Cueibet County commissioner Isaac Mayom Malek, decided to shift the celebration of South Sudan’s Independence Day until further notice.
Lakes State’s Minister for Information and Communication, Charles Badiri Mayen, told Sudan Tribune that the other seven counties of Lakes state had celebrated the the first anniversary of South Sudan’s secession from Sudan.
The minister said the government "condemned" the clashes and said that all "culprits must to be brought to justice urgently."
“So far Commissioner Isaac Mayom Malek and our security forces have managed to capture those suspected people who incited inter-clan clashes and more suspected people are being persude” said Badiri.
The inter-clan clashes were between the Wat and Ayel communities, he said.
“They cannot celebrate while they are losing their family. Cueibet town center is occupied" by the South Sudanese army (SPLA).
Despite some arrests being made the the "ring leaders are not found. I assure you that all will be arrested. The state government is serious and we will not delay this justice”.
Lakes State Celebrations
In Rumbek and other parts of Lakes State there was a "peaceful atmosphere", Lakes State’s Information Minister said.
"We are proud of this Day. We need peace and unity among ourselves", said Charles.
Speaking during the celebrations in Rumbek’s Freedom Square, Mabor Achol Kuir, the acting governor of Lakes state said the government was prioritising delivering basic services to people across Lakes State’s eight counties.
Priority was being given to health, education, security and infrastructure, despite austerity measures being taken in response to South Sudan loosing its oil revenue.
Income from oil exports accounted for 98% of the government’s budget budget before production was stopped due a dispute with Khartoum over transit fees.