March 29, 2014 (RUMBEK) - A gunfire exchange between pastoralists and security personnel on Tuesday left a policeman and soldier dead in Lakes state’s Rumbek Central county.
An officer attached to South Sudan’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) identified the dead policeman as Makur Maker Gum.
The officer, who preferred anonymity, said clashes erupted on Monday between pastoralist youth and organised forces after the former raided cows in Rumbek town.
"Following the cattle raid the Lakes state government asked the police and army to search the town for weapons", he told Sudan Tribune.
"The cause [of the clashes] was the orders that were given by the governor that all the arms should be collected in the town by the organize forces", added the officer.
He however said the state government was still investigating the 17 March incident in which two policemen were killed by another group of armed youth.
Multiple sources told Sudan Tribune that clashes erupted in Kuel-Kuac between pastoralists after they were allegedly provoked by soldiers in the area.
On Thursday 27, two people were also killed when fresh clashes erupted between pastoralists and the country’s security forces at Bahrgel payam [district], about three miles from Wulu county headquarters.
People in the area have vowed never to handover their guns to Lakes state authorities claiming government was neither prepared to protect them nor treat them fairly.
Lakes state caretaker governor, Matur Chut Dhuol’s tenure has proved controversial due to his use of military prison to hold people without trial with activists and some traditional leaders calling for his replacement or elections as per the country’s constitution.
Many civilians in Lakes state have distanced themselves from the government since these harsh security measures were introduced by Dhuol, whom President Salva Kiir appointed in January 2012 to succeed the elected governor, Chol Tong Mayay.
Youth from Lakes state claim they were fed up with the government’s claims and accusations that they are supporters of South Sudan’s former vice-president, Riek Machar, who is now leads a rebellion against the country’s leadership.
The rebellion has mainly affected Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states, with Lakes state currently hosting up to 100,000 people displaced as a result of the conflict.
A Lakes state youth told Sudan Tribune on Monday that the current conflict had nothing to do with South Sudanese civilians, but a power struggle between the politicians in the country’s ruling party (SPLM).
Traditional chiefs, students and activists have called on President Kiir to remove Governor Dhuol, but these public 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 governor from office.However, this is yet to be seen in the three states where elected governors were removed in 2013.