July 3, 2014 (RUMBEK) – The former leader of Rumbek Youth Union (RUMYU) has survived an attack by road bandits, while one student sustained a gunshot wound in two separate incidents in South Sudan’s Lakes state in recent days.
Apuk Deng Reech said their attackers struck after the bus departed from Rumbek Central County en route to Rumbek East on Saturday.
A group of unknown gunmen intercepted the bus at Kuburi Apeet , a swampy area between Panawac and Bar-naan, and ordered everyone to get out and hand over their money and valuables.
“The attackers stopped us at Kuburi Apeet and immediately ordered us to remove money out of our pockets; we did everything they (the attackers) commanded us to do,” said Reech.
Fifteen passengers were on board the bus at the time, which was being driven by an Ethiopian national.
Reech said all passengers arrived safely at the county headquarter of Thonaduel, where they immediately reported the incident to police. However, he claimed police failed to take any further measures to locate the culprits.
In a separate incident on the same day, a student from Rumbek Senior Secondary School was shot in the chest after being ambushed in the same area on Saturday.
The student, who was named at Laat Kuotwel Manhon, was admitted to Rumbek hospital.
“It is very unfortunate,” said Reech following the incident.
The latest attacks follow the killing of an Ethiopian bus driver, who was gunned down in April by unknown assailants while en route to Maper county.
Multiple sources told Sudan Tribune that an officer from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) onboard at the time had exchanged fire with the attackers, who fled into the bush after opening fire on the 24-year-old driver. It’s understood he had been working in Lakes state for the past four years.
Lakes state continues to witness a cycle of revenge killings and tribal violence.
Police claim that the state government has become increasingly isolated, with members of the public refusing to share information with law enforcement or security agencies.
Military caretaker governor Maj- Gen Matur Chut Dhuol has faced heavy criticism from students, pastoralists and community leaders over his harsh security reforms, with growing calls for his removal. South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit has so far overlooked the calls.
Dhuol was appointed to replace elected former governor Chol Tong Mayay, who was removed by Kiir in January 2012, reportedly over his failure to control unrest in the state.