July 8, 2014 (RUMBEK) – A gunman launched a surprise attack at Lakes state’s Rumbek University on Sunday, with students forced to flee through classroom windows.
South Sudan police said they have arrested the alleged attacker, but did not provide further details.
RUMBEK CATTLE RAID
In a separate incident on Monday, pastoralist youth attacked Rumbek town and raided an estimated 3,000 cows, in what is the third such attack this year in Rumbek Central. Some of the cattle raised were milking cows, while others had been intended for slaughter for the Rumbek market.
Police and pastoralists exchanged heavy gunfire, with two pastoralists killed on the spot.
Other pastoralists escaped with their wounded to an unknown location.
One youth told Sudan Tribune in his hideout place that the aim of the attack was to punish caretaker military Governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol and his cabinet by preventing meat being sold in the market.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the youth said the cattle camp was on high alert, with the group remaining armed and ready to defend themselves.
He claimed the attack was justified as Dhuol did not command respect, accusing the governor of being responsible for the deaths of a number of pastoralist youths detained at a secret military prison.
“We are ready to seize all cows in [Rumbek] town so that governor Matur Chut [Dhuol] could not access meat anymore,” he said.
South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit immediately cancelled a planned visit to Rumbek, which was scheduled for last weekend to officially open a Chinese-constructed hospital located on the Rumbek-Yirol road
The president is now likely to reschedule his visit to this coming weekend.
The naming of the hospital has recently been the subject of a disagreement between the state government and local communities.
While the government said it had opted to name the new healthcare facility Mayardit Women’s Hospital, local community leaders are advocating to name the hospital after Samuel Aru Bol, a prominent politician in the then Southern Sudan.
Coincidentally, Bol’s mausoleum lies within the vicinity of the new hospital.
The visit comes amid growing calls for Dhuol to be removed over his imposition of harsh security measures and failure to quell ongoing tribal violence and cattle raiding in the state.
Dhuol, who was appointed in January 2012 after Kiir removed elected governor Chol Tong Mayay, is also accused of inciting violence within local communities through hate speeches and attempting to undermine intellectuals and traditional authorities.
As part of preparations for the presidential visit roads were levelled with stones and trees in freedom square were painted white.
Meanwhile, Lakes state MPs have also criticised Dhuol’s decision to constrict a temporary fence in Rumbek freedom square, describing the construction as random and unlawful.
“[This] random construction … is not approved by parliament as required by law. All the money used for the construction are money [which] we believed to be [for] different operation costs and capital,” said MP Veronica Philip, who has accused the Dhuol administration of money grabbing contributions from counties and local institutions for its own purposes.
Philip claimed insecurity in the state is continuing to worsen, confirming that senior student Mabak Mapuor and five people, including one woman were killed in recent violence. Rape is also on the rise, with six cases reported recently, the MP said.
A number of Lakes state communities are also threatening to migrate, accusing the government of failing to protect them.
Dhuol has declined to comment on security issues in the state. He has justified the construction of temporary fencing as part of planned celebrations for the third anniversary of South Sudan’s independence and the arrival of the president.