Home | News    Saturday 15 October 2011

South Sudan army contains sectional fighting in Lakes State

By Ngor Arol Garang

October 14,2011 (JUBA) - Lakes State authorities on Friday said the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the official army of the new state of South Sudan, said it had contained fighting between ethnic groups in Rumbek East County.

Local authorities told Sudan Tribune that sectional fighting between Thony and Gony Payith ethnic communities broke out last week, resulting into the death of at least one person. No reports of injuries were made but the tension was rising.

Speaking by phone from Rumbek on Friday, Awan Matur, a government official in the state said situation had returned to normal.

“Actually it was not a fighting. It was just an incident in which a person was killed in a place called Kuei Cok near Pacong Payam”, Matur told Sudan Tribune from Rumbek. He attributed the cause to an old conflict between the two clans in the area but said the SPLA forces on the ground were quickly deployed and that the situation is contained.

“There is no problem at the moment. The SPLA forces control the situation. The traditional leaders together with county authorities are now talking to the people from both sides so that the issue is addressed instead of fighting”, he said.

Sudan Tribune was unable reach the SPLA for comment.

Disarmament Campaign

The civilian-led disarmament process began across Lakes, Unity and Warrap States last month and is expected to be completed within three months. Thousands of weapons are expected to be collected from local communities across the three states.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG), Hilde F. Johnson in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune by her office congratulated state authorities and local population for engagement in the civilian-led disarmament process across the Lakes State.

"I am encouraged by the local communities and their participation in the civilian-led disarmament process taking place across Lakes State. There has been such a positive response to this initiative with excellent cooperation between local communities and the state authorities."

Hilde further stressed that there is no peace, security, stability and delivery of necessary social services without disarmament. She encouraged local communities to collaborate closely with the state authorities to achieve this fundamental task.

"UNMISS stands ready to offer our support and assistance as this civilian-led disarmament process continues," she added.

During a familiarisation visit to Lakes state to assess the progress of the disarmament process, the UN’s top official in the South Sudan met the state governor for Lakes State, the county commissioner for Cuibet, the SPLA Division and Brigade HQ, as well as the local communities of Duony, Pagaur and Abiriu payams [districts].

As a sign of respect for political figures, she visited Kobur (bridge) William, the memorial site, where William Deng Nhial, father of South Sudan’s current Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was assassinated in 1965 by the Khartoum-based Sudanese government.

Lakes state police boosted by 550 officers

October 4, 2011 (RUMBEK) - Lakes state authorities graduated 550 police officers on Tuesday in Rumbek after completing nine months of training supported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

Police parade at the graduation of 550 officers in Rumbek, Lakes state. October 4, 2011 (ST)

Of the 550 new police officers 150 are women. They are Lakes state’s first new police since South Sudan became independent in July.

The colorful graduation in Rumbek’s Freedom Square was attended by Lakes state governor Chol Tong Mayay, South Sudan’s police Inspector of Police services first Lieutenant General Acuei Tito, Lakes state speaker John Marik Makur, ministers, advisors, SPLM secretariat members and members of state parliament.

Governor Tong, told the crowd that the peaceful civilian disarmament process that is ongoing in the state is only the beginning of creating a peaceful atmosphere across eight counties of Lakes state. He urged citizens to surrender their arms to the southern army (SPLA). Tong declared that traffic police and all security personnel would be informed that from Tuesday, all checkpoints across eight counties of Lakes state would be closed.

Despite an 2005 peace deal that led to South Sudan’s independence in July, Lakes has remained insecure with banditry, cattle raids and revenge attacks blighting the region. It is hoped that the recent disarmament campaign and increased police numbers will help maintain law and order.

Lakes state governor Chol Tong Mayay (center), Acieu Tito the head of police in South Sudan (left) and Lakes state commissioner of police Saed Chawuol Lom (right) at graduation ceremony for police in Rumbek. October 4, 2011 (ST)

Chol said his government was not to blame for tax increases and the hike in the cost of living. "The cause of high prices skyrocketing is checkpoints made across the country and traffic policemen who ask [for illegal taxes] on roads without authorization”.

Speaking at the ceremony, Major General Saed Chawuol Lom, said the “historic day for Lakes state" showed that the federal and state government was serious about providing security to civilians across the eight counties of Lakes state.

The Inspector General of South Sudan Police Services 1st Lieutenant General Acuei Tito said that the government of South Sudan especially the ministry of Interior is working to improve the police, promising that salaries of police are going to be increased.

“Now, the new country needs us to provide security and this demand is not easy”, he said.

25 prison officers detained in Rumbek after shooting

October 10, 2011 (JUBA) - Authorities in Lakes state have arrested 25 prison warders in Rumbek after they began shooting at a bodyguard loyal to the director of prison services in the state, Bol Ador Adeer.

Since the South Sudan Prison Services headquarters in Juba demoted 132 prison officers from senior rank to another rank across South Sudan, the demoted officers in Rumbek claim they have not been paid.

On Monday, Mabor Mayen Wol, a Lakes state minister for local government and law enforcement said the 25 would receive their outstanding pay but would also be charged over the shooting.

Speaking over state radio, Mayen said an investigation is still being conducted.

One of the demoted officers, Majak Tehar, said they did not intend to cause any problems with authorities in Lakes State prison services but wanted to send a warning to pay attention to the delay in paying salaries since they were demoted from senior rank to another junior rank.