15th May 2021
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Activist wants Lakes ‘Gelweng’ disarmed immediately

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Armed youth in a cattle camp near Rumbek, Lakes State | File photo

A civil society group has echoed call on the government to swiftly deploy a rapid response forces to contain the insecurity in Lake State.

“The situation in Lakes State and Rumbek in particular seems to be going out of hand and, therefore, the government needs to consider it a national issue and now requires additional forces,” argues Jame Kolok, who heads the Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance.

Lately, Lakes State has been experiencing waves of communal violence, mainly fueled by revenge attacks, cattle raiding, and banditry.

Despite several disarmament exercises conducted in the state, armed youth – commonly known as “Gelweng” – are still in possession of firearms.

On Sunday night, the Bishop-elect of the Rumbek Diocese – Father Christian Carlassare – was shot in the legs at his residence by unidentified assailants.

On Tuesday, two lactating mothers were shot dead at Akot Payam in Rumbek East County while fetching water in the morning.

Kolok stressed that all these incidents show that the unity government has failed in providing security to its citizen.

“As civil society…we also need to ensure that some serious action are actually taken against some of the perpetrators of this violence,” he added.

According to the state police spokesperson, at least 20 people, including police officers, are being held in connection with the attack on the Italian national.

Earlier, the archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Juba called for disarmament exercise in the State to end the circle of violence there.

The government has often said it is difficult to confiscate weapons from the hands of local youth because they are more “heavily armed than the organized forces”.

In addition, a survey released recently by the South Sudan Network on Small Arms pointed out that some communities have refused to hand over their firearms, arguing that it could leave them vulnerable to raids.

But some past media reports showed that government soldiers were involved in killing of civilians in the state.

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