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Angelo Bagari, Paramount Chief

Name: Angelo Bagari

Position: Paramount Chief of the Balanda ethnic group, a community also known in the state as “Fartit”.

Background

In December 2012, Angelo Bagari, who has the same name as the Bagari locality, was briefly called in for questioning by the state security after the killing of 26 innocent Dinka civilians in Parajallah, an area under his jurisdiction.

The motives for the killings in December 2012 are unclear although authorities arrested a number of people including traditional leaders from the area who were suspected to have knowingly not intervened to prevent the deaths.

Parajallah is the the proposed location for the new headquarters of Wau County.

The area is inhabited by the Balanda ethnic group, a community also known in the state as “Fartit” and whose youth groups and intellectuals have expressed dissatisfaction with state cabinet’s decision instructing ex-commissioner, John Peter Miskin, to relocate the headquarters of Wau County in October. Miskin rejected the administrative order and resigned from his position.

Miskin’s rejection and resignation generated a series of protests, which saw youth groups create roadblocks on the roads leading out of Wau town. When the army attempted to remove the roadblocks on Saturday 8 December some protestors lost their lives when demonstrating against the removal of the roadblocks.

More people were killed when further demonstrations against the incident were held in Wau town on Sunday 9 December. The state government has admitted that eight lives were lost in the protest. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) initially put the death toll at 10, before revising that down to nine. Former Wau County Commissioner John Peter Miskin has claimed 25 people were killed and 21 others sustained injuries.

The killings, which have been blamed on South Sudan’s armed forces, have attracted the criticism from local and international human right organizations.

During the December protests a police station at Jebel Kheir in Wau town was burned down, 53 commercial trucks were set ablaze and three major roads leading to Western Equatoria State, as well as roads to Bagari and Raja County were blocked by protesters.

However on 1 January, the Bagari chief declared the resolve of his community to work together with the state government, explaining that “development takes place only when people are positive and act with clear minds to do the right thing”.

“The development and progress of this country depends entirely on our resolve to work together. It means our unity and responsibility. Our diversity should not be seen and used as our weakness. It should be our strength”, Balanda paramount chief, Angelo Bagari told the crowd.

"We can certainly achieve a lot of things, if we as people, regardless of our ethnic backgrounds, can put our acts together, move as one and think together in our courts and offices. We will do wonders to change the face of our localities and overcome odds if we listen to what we say and seek how to forge an understanding as people”.




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