December 12, 2013 (BENTIU) - Lawmakers in South Sudan’s Unity state said they failed in their fact-finding mission to establish the cause of last month’s inter-clan clashes between the Leer and Jikany communities in the region.
Clashes between the two neighbouring clans from Guit and Rubkota counties erupted after a dispute over a 50-square meter land in the area, leaving dozens dead.
Joseph Monytuel, the caretaker governor responded by dismissing Thomas Maluit Hoth, the commissioner of Rubkotna county and Lily Kuol, the state security advisor for alleged failure to control the matter.
On 23 November, parliament formed a seven-member committee, headed by Chol Deng Akiir, to investigate the incident.
But the group, in a report presented before the fifth session of the assembly, said they faced challenges while gathering information especially on politicians said to have been involved in the dispute.
Some community members, they said, feared to disclose reasons behind tragic communal clan clashes, which claimed several lives.
“The committee has been faced by some challenges which were considered to be temporary, but discouraging. Most of the targeted parties were hesitant and reserved to talk to [the] committee about the conflict because they were fearing to be counted as involved in the conflicts”, Akiir said.
The committee, in its report, also called for dialogue between the two warring communities, under the auspices of the state authorities.
There were conflicting reports as to how many people died, with the state information minister, Nyaliep John Dak putting the figures at five. This was contradicted by area residents, who put the death toll at 11 soldiers and a dozen civilians.
Lawmakers, however, criticised the committee for their failure to thoroughly investigate the actual roots causes of the problem among citizens and security organs in the two counties.
James Nguany Chakouth, the speaker of the assembly said the committee’s report will be recompiled by the standing specialized committee, before it is submitted to the state governor.
The speaker also warned the state government against involvement in conducting border demarcations, widely seen as the main cause of tension in the region.