March 20, 2014 (RUMBEK) – Inter-clan clashes intensified in Lakes state’s Rumbek East county on Thursday, leaving more than 10 people dead and dozens with gunshot wounds in the remote area of Malual-acuooth.
The clashes erupted between the Kook-awach and Kook-ker Pacuar sections of the Dinka tribe, according to the South Sudanese police, and are part of a cycle of revenge attacks dating back to August last year when two teachers were killed at Mathiang primary school.
On Tuesday, Manier Mapuor Agok, who some people believed to have been a suspect in the murders, was shot and killed in the Ayen-mayar area.
A senior police officer in Rumbek East county told Sudan Tribune on the condition of anonymity that 15 people were killed, with both sides suffering casualties. Dozens of people who sustained gunshot wounds undergoing treatment in separate hospitals, he added.
A local, who also did not want to be named, told Sudan Tribune that the Lakes state government had not been able to separate the armed civilians.
“It is very unbelievable [that] our government did not send police or [the South Sudanese army] SPLA to separate the fight. Those civilians fought themselves until they overran themselves and got tired,” he said.
The police officer repeated claims that civilians in Lakes State refuse to cooperate with state authorities. Many people in South Sudan’s central state describe the Rumbek administration as an “unlawful government” which did not understand their needs and often mistreated civilians.
One youth member who requested anonymity told Sudan Tribune that “we are fighting because our teachers were murders in August and state government did not arrest the suspected person who kill[ed the] teachers. We made our effort to find him and we kill him”.
Many people in Lakes state argue the governor is illegitimate as he was appointed to replace the elected governor in January last year. Under South Sudan’s constitution a by-election should have taken place within three months of his appointment. However, no election seems likely until the 2015 elections.
After the deaths in August last year at Mathiang primary school, caretaker governor Matur Chut Dhuol ordered the closure of 23 primary schools in Rumbek East and failed to arrested any suspects.
Inter-clan clashes have intensified in Lakes state over the past week, with 34 people reportedly killed and more than 20 people injured after violence broke out at a remote cattle camp at Wunthou in Tiaptiap payam (district) about 80km from Cueibet.
Sticks and firearms were used during the clashes between the Waat and Panyar clans of the Dinka Gok tribe. The dispute was reportedly triggered by an argument over a girl.
Earlier this week armed cattle herders in Lakes state resumed deadly clashes with the South Sudan Police Service and members of SPLA in the south-west of Rumbek, the state capital.
A police officer who requested anonymity said that two soldiers were killed in Roornhom when the pastoralists raided cattle from Roornhom village.
Multiple sources told Sudan Tribune that clashes erupted in Kuel-Kuac between pastoralists after they had been provoked by soldiers in the area.
Traditional chiefs, students and activists have called on president Salva Kiir to remove Dhuol, but the public’s demands have so far been overlooked. Under South Sudan’s constitution, an election should be held within 90 days in the event that the president removes a state governor from office.
In the three states where governors were removed in 2013 this has yet to occur and there are no indications that elections will be held before the general elections, due to be held 2015.