March 22, 2013 (RUMBEK) - Lakes state’s caretaker military governor, Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol, has given owners of guns in Rumbek town seven days to register their firearms or face three years in prison.
- Matur Chuot Dhuol was appointed as caretaker governor of Lakes state in January 2013 (ST)
The governor first announced the policy in February shortly after he was appointed, but until Friday he had not announced a deadline for the process.
Dhuol’s initial call for registration was ignored by the majority of officials carrying arms in Rumbek.
Governor Dhuol registered his own firearm in Rumbek’s freedom square where gun owners have been asked to register their weapons. It will cost civilians 150 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP), while government officials will pay 350 SSP, he said.
All type of firearms, including pistols and AK47s, will be required to be registered or handed in to authorities by the 29 April or face three years of hard labour, Dhuol said.
“Guns in all nations are [required to be] registered and there is no guns to be carried without registration and that is why we gathered here to register our guns and I will start it with my own gun. Sometime back this gun was registered in the army and now since I become governor of this state and I am still holding it, I have to register it again with public of Lakes state,” Dhuol said.
The governor, who has been criticised by some for his harsh security policies, said that related directives will also be issued in all Lakes state’s counties in order to monitor the registration process.
The measures are being introduced in response to clashes between the South Sudan army (SPLA) and armed pastoralists in the Awac-Lual cattle camp. Following the violence, the governor ordered the mass arrest of young men suspected of involvement across Rumbek East county especially among the Kok Dinka ethnic group.