March 11, 2013 (RUMBEK) - Authorities in South Sudan’s Lakes State have arrested 14 pastoralist youth in connection with Friday’s gun battle with the army (SPLA), which left a person dead and two others injured.
A policeman, according to eye witnesses, had fired into the air causing the pastoralist youth to scatter in the forest, firing in return. However, when the soldiers saw this, they assumed they were being attacked forcing them to fire at the cattle herders.
Matur Chut Dhuol, the Lakes state caretaker governor order immediate investigation into incident, prompting the Rumbek East county commissioner, David Marial Gumke and his Rumbek Central counterpart, Abraham Mayen Kuc to spend two nights in the camp cattle under police protection.
The motive of the two commissioners was to find out the actual cause of fighting between SPLA and pastoralists.
Gumke, in a media address on Monday, said state authorities had resolved to have the army deployed in all cattle camps to for safety purposes.
“At least 100 soldiers will be deployed in each cattle camp,” the commissioner said, adding that civilian protection remains a priority to the state government.
Meanwhile, the Rumbek East commissioner says the 14 youth arrested for allegedly resisting police orders would be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Lakes state’s new governor has, in recent weeks, introduced harsh measures to improve security, including banning the sale of alcohol apart from in six hotels.
However, the state government has being criticized for creating military prisons, where those held are not allowed access to their family, lawyers and human rights officials. There are also allegations that some of the over 100 men being held are being tortured and kept under bad conditions.
So far the Lakes state government has remained silent over the accusations.