March 23, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, has called on a spiritual leader in Uror County of Jonglei State to peacefully surrender his guns to the authorities and live his life freely like a normal civilian.
- Lou Nuer youth leader speaking in Linkuangole, Jonglei state. 28 Dec. 2011 (ST)
The head of the disarmament campaign in Jonglei state, Lt. Gen. Kuol Deim Kuol, on Thursday said the spiritual leader, Dak Kueth, resisted disarming, resulting in his group clashing with the South Sudan army (SPLA), which killed four people and wounded four others.
The Vice President appealed to the spiritual leader during Friday’s meeting in Juba with leaders of the Lou-Nuer community, particularly the members of the national parliament.
He urged them to play an active role and persuade the spiritual leader and his group to surrender their guns like any other individuals in the state.
The Lou-Nuer leaders said they were ready to travel to Uror County in Jonglei and convey the message to the spiritual leader. They also raised a complaint that the already disarmed Lou-Nuer communities are not protected, leaving them vulnerable to cattle raids from their neighbours.
MURLE YOUTH CLASH WITH SOUTH SUDAN ARMY
The disarmament campaign was triggered by a huge attack on the Murle by 6,000 armed Luo-Nuer men in December and January and subsequent retaliatory attacks. Over 120,000 were effected by the fighting which follows spikes in August and June last year that killed over 1,000 people.
President Kiir officially started the process in mid-March having warned that force would be used if any group refused to handover their weapons.
Armed youth from the Murle community clashed with the SPLA on Friday inside Lou-Nuer territory, authorities have reported. This comes after a Murle group were accused of attacking Nyirol County on Thursday, killing several people and stealing thousands heads of cattle.
Officials, however, said the army eventually engulfed them as they tried to return to Murle areas with the stolen cattle. Six people were killed from the Murle youth and all the stolen heads of cattle were recovered according to the government.
Lou-Nuer leaders also reported that other groups of roaming Murle youths were spotted in different areas, raising fear that they may strike against the vulnerable Lou-Nuer any time unless the government protects the communities who have already surrendered their guns.
SOUTH SUDAN VICE PRESIDENT TELLS MURLE TO STOP ATTACKS
Vice President, Riek Machar, also urged the Murle community to stop attacking neighbouring communities and surrender their guns to the SPLA on a three day visited to Murle villages in Pibor County, which ended on Thursday.
Machar visited Pibor town, Manyibol, Bech-bech, Kariak and Buma during which he also urged them to register abducted children and women and return them to their respective communities. While in Buma on Wednesday Machar called on the communities of Jieh and Kachipo to disarm peacefully.
He also told the communities to prepare for peace and reconciliation conferences which will be conducted in the state to address the root causes of the inter-communal conflicts.
The Murle accepted to return the children and categorised them into three groups; those abducted during fighting, children abducted without conflict and children they claim to have bought from individuals in neighboring communities.
They told the Vice President that they will surrender both the “captured” and “abducted” children but warned that they will expose the individuals from whom they had “bought” some other children.