By Ijoo Bosco
April 30, 2014 (TORIT) – Eastern Equatoria state governor Louis Lobong Lojore briefed the different units of the organised forces in the state capital Torit on Wednesday to thank forces for their efforts and encourage them to continue to maintain security in the state.
- Eastern Equatoria state governor Louis Lobong speaks to organised forces, April 30, 2014 (ST)
Lobong said the state’s organised forces had done a good job in maintaining peace and security despite the eruption of violence in mid-December last year.
“The purpose of my visit is to brief the different organised forces [and] to thank and acknowledge their tireless service in provision of security and maintenance of peace in the entire state,” said Lobong
He called on unit commanders and their respective forces to keep up their spirits and ensure Eastern Equatoria remains an icon of peace and stability in South Sudan.
Lobong said hundreds of people fleeing violence across the country had taken shelter in different parts of Equatoria, a testament to the culture of hospitality and peace among its citizens.
The governor said he had also discussed some challenges facing the armed forces during his visit, adding that the government would seek to address the issues.
He also encouraged military units in Torit to avoid alcohol and take up agriculture and begin cultivation and cleaning of the town as part of their national civic duties.
Lobong provided assurances to forces that delayed salary payments would be paid by the central government, blaming the current crisis for the disruption.
He reminded troops that it is not only Eastern Equatoria experiencing hard times, but the entire country, with many citizens going without pay since the conflict erupted more than four months ago, severely disrupting the new nation’s economy.
He urged citizens to continue to report to work as usual, saying they would receive their salaries in due courses.
He stressed that the delays were not the making of the state government, but as a result of ongoing conflict.
He said the national government remained committed to restoring peace and security in the country and is continuing to work to address economic issues affecting the new nation.
Thousands have been killed and almost one million displaced since political tensions between president Salva Kiir and former vice-president Riek Machar turned violence.
Government forces loyal to Kiir and pro-Machar rebels have been involved in a brutal struggle for control of the country for more than four months, with a January ceasefire deal failing to quell unrest.
Kiir has accused his former deputy and his supporters of masterminding an alleged coup attempt to overthrow the central government in Juba. Machar and his allies deny the claims.
Last month, the government released four senior politicians on trial for treason for their role in the alleged plot, with Kiir saying the decision was made as a gesture of reconciliation.