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Lakes state orders forceful disarmament in three counties

January 21, 2013 (RUMBEK) - Authorities in Rumbek, the capital of South Sudan’s Lakes state have resumed forceful disarmament after sectional clashes erupted in its Rumbek Central County for the first time.

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On January 18, Amothnhom and Panyon inter-clans clashes in the state left more than 25 people dead and about 30 who sustained gunshot wounds were admitted to Rumbek civil hospital.

Following the outbreak of violence, Lakes state governor Chol Tong Mayay ordered the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and South Sudan Police Services (SSPS) to launch forceful disarmament in three counties comprising of Rumbek central, Cueibet and Rumbek east and arrest those responsible on both sides of the conflict.

The move came after an emergency meeting held by Lake state’s council of ministers to discuss how to respond to the latest violence.

While Lakes state committee leaders blame the SPLA for allegedly selling firearms to pastoral youth, army spokesman Philip Aguer dismissed the accusation.

Recently, about 10 people died in Cueibet county, located in western part of Lakes state, when a group of heavily armed Gok Dinka youth killed seven SPLA soldiers in Malual-chum cattle camp.

Lakes state information minister Charles Badiri Mayen has supported the government’s decision on forceful disarmament.

“We must disarm all armed civilian by all cost,” he said.

Authorities say the clashes were sparked by disagreements over grazing areas between rival cattle herding groups.

(ST)