Some locals in Rumbek North County have advised the newly appointed military governor to prioritize disarmament and a ban on local alcohol consumption in Lakes State.
They believe without removing illegal guns in the hands of civilians and banning alcoholism especially Siko, the state will not achieve peace and development.
Despite several disarmament exercises, local youth locally referred to as ‘gelweng’ are still in possession of small firearms.
Observers have said that collected guns usually find their way back to the hands of the civilians, a situation they blame on some senior military officials.
“People have so much hope and expectations of General Rin that he will save the people from the fighting that has been going on,” a young lady in Maper of Pakam area said.
Some of the residents said the uptake of Siko is one of the factors increasing revenge attacks and banditry in the state.
They argue that once the youth are intoxicated, they quickly organize themselves to carry road ambushes, cattle raid,s and revenge attacks.
“Start first with disarming the local population because the guns are the cause of the problem and secondly it is the alcohol called siko. These are the main triggers of the conflicts,” an elder told Governor Rin.
For his part, the governor reiterated his commitment to ensuring that citizens and their property are protected.
“We will cooperate to eradicate all the crimes in the County as well as the whole state,” Rin said. “We encourage them to continue with dialogue, and as the government, we will initiate dialogue, peace and reconciliation.”
On July 19, seven people were killed in suspected cattle rustling incident in Maarjok, an area under Rumbek Central County.
The UN Mission in South Sudan often says revenge attacks and cattle-related killings remain the biggest insecurity challenges after political violence subsided in the country since 2018.
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