May 28, 2014 (RUMBEK) – Fresh clashes in Lakes state’s Rumbek East county on Tuesday have left three people dead.
The clashes erupted between the Kok-Awac and Kok-Ker sub-clans who share the same area of Rumbek East county.
A local police official confirmed that the clashes broke out in the Barnaam area, resulting in the deaths of three people who suffered gunshot in the exchange.
The state government is making efforts to control the security situation in the counties but public have increasingly isolated the state government by refusing to cooperate with authorities or provide information to security agents.
“This is another setback to [the] state government,” the security officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Sudan Tribune.
He said the number of people wounded during the incident as many local residents had taken their relatives and gone into hiding.
Lakes state’s minister for information and communication, Marik Nanga Marik, said the government is conducting a four-day peace conference in Aluakluak in a bid to quell ongoing insecurity, with the meeting bringing together the chiefs and administrators of the Greater Yirol and Rumbek East counties.
“We are now conducting peace and reconciliation in Aluakaluak – we are working hard to bring peace,” said Marik.
However, the meeting has drawn criticism from activists, with some officials and traditional chiefs declining to attend.
One Rumbek East chief said last reconciliation could only achieved by granting justice and compensation to victims of tribal clashes.
“This is not a conference for the good news, it is a conference of bad news, How [can we] come to have peace and reconciliation without justice and blood compensation to the victims who were affected by cycle of cattle raid and revenge killing? This is completely a grave mistake beyond repair,” he said.
A police source in Lakes state said on Monday that clashes between the rival counties of Rumbek North (Maper) and Cueibet sparked by ongoing cattle raiding and revenge attacks had killed 156 people between 21 and 23 May.
Lakes state has been blighted by cattle raiding since South Sudan’s secession from the north in July 2011 and continues to be locked in a cycle of inter-clan revenge clashes.
In February 2013, Lakes state military caretaker governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol ordered the mass arrest of youths suspected of instigating violence in Rumbek East, with both sub-clans of the Kok Dinka tribe targeted.
Youth activists and traditional authorities have repeatedly called for the removal of governor Dhuol amid claims he has failed to stem the violence. However, president Salva Kiir Mayardit has so far overlooked the calls.
Lakes state’s Dinka youth have also refused to join military forces recruited to fight against the rebels led by former vice-president Riek Machar who are mainly from the Nuer ethnic group, leading to increased tensions between the state and central government in Juba.
Fighting between the government and rebels has killed thousands and displaced over 1.3 million people since political tensions erupted in mid-December last year.
Last month, activists and civil society groups in Lakes state capital stepped up pressure on Dhuol to resign over the way he has run the state since he was appointed in January 2012.