June 12, 2014 – A Lakes state MP has described the government administration as a failing system that was increasingly isolated and out of touch with its citizens.
Veronica Ujuma Philip Dak, the deputy chairperson for local government and transitional authority in Lakes state, has called for an extraordinary session of the state assembly to address increasing insecurity in the region.
Dak’s calls come after a student of Rumbek National Senior Secondary School was killed by an unknown gunman last Sunday.
According to Dak, a soldier from the South Sudanese army (SPLA), named as Mayot Ater Mawut, was also killed in the same incident, which occurred on the highway between Cueibet and Rumbek Central counties. Both victims are beloved to be from Cueibet county.
She said senior four student Bang Maker Mathiang Malook had since been buried, but the soldier’s remains had not been recovered as they were eaten by hyenas in the area. The culprits in the killings have yet to be apprehended.
“The suspect was not yet clear because and up to now we are still looking ahead to know where this person came in,” said Dak.
In May, clashes broke out among the Pakam of Rumbek North and Dinka Gok of Cueibet county, leaving dozens of people dead.
This followed the deaths of 201 people earlier last month in inter-clan clashes reportedly triggered by cattle raids carried out by youths between Cueibet and Rumbek North counties.
In all, 160 people were killed from the Gok panyar, while the Pakam community suffered 41 casualties.
Dak said ongoing stability in the state posed a significant threat to the country’s progress, adding that targeted killings continued to occur, with the government’s ability to address instability hampered by the public’s refusal to share information with security agents on the ground.
“The government has fail[ed] to control the people that is what I am seeing,” said Dak.
Lakes state capital Rumbek is a hub for cattle raiding and has been locked in an ongoing cycle of inter-clan revenge killings.
The state government has repeatedly promised to address the situation, but police claim the situation has been exacerbated by the poor relationship between the administration and the people of Lakes state.
Local activist Moses Ater said military caretaker governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol should heed growing for him to stand down.
Dhoul was installed by president Salva Kiir in January 2012 after his predecessor was sacked for failing to maintain security.
Meanwhile, youth activists and traditional authorities have intensified calls for Dhuol’s removal amid claims he has also failed to stem violence in the state, although Kiir has so far overlooked the demands.
Lakes state’s Dinka youth have refused to join military forces recruited to fight against rebels led by former vice-president Riek Machar, who are mainly from the Nuer ethnic group, leading to increased tensions with the central government in Juba.
Fighting between government troops and rebel forces has killed thousands and displaced over 1.3 million people.
In April, a group of activist and civil society groups in Rumbek also added their voices to calls for Dhuol’s removal, saying he had failed to run the state effectively since his appointment.