1st October 2020
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Luanyjang red scarf fighting victims ‘suffer’

Author: Elsheikh Chol | Published: Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Such a red scarf reported triggered the Luanyjang clashes whose death toll stands 127

A local official in Luanyjang County, Warrap State, says families who escaped to the nearby bushes after military-civilian clashes over the weekend are suffering.

On Tuesday, the army reported the death of 82 people following intense fighting between armed civilians and the disarmament force in Tonj area.

According to the SSPDF spokesperson, the two days of clashes led to the killing of 45 security officers and over 80 civilians.

On Monday, officials said dozens of people had been killed in the area when armed civilians clashed with government forces.

The army initially said it sent reinforcement after armed youth attempted to forcefully free an inmate from a police post.

The fighting ensued at the weekend over what the SSPDF said was triggered by an argument over a red scarf between some soldiers and armed youth.

The armed cattle keepers reportedly attacked positions of the disarmament forces in Romic area, forcing the army to withdraw to Ngab Agok to reduce tension.

An Executive Director in Luanyjak County confirmed the fighting, saying it has displaced entire villages.

Mabior Adhel stated that those affected have no food because they have been cut off from the cattle camps and the markets.

“Many people were getting foodstuffs from the market, but it was looted. There is nothing called market here anymore,” Adhel told Eye Radio on Wednesday.

“They are now seeking help from nearby areas where people have cultivated maize and beans. They go there to beg from the owners of the farms, but there are some areas without farms.”

Red scarf: the trigger

Adhel also believes the fighting could have been avoided if the soldiers understood why the young people in the area wore scarfs.

He thinks the unnecessary deaths and displacements would have been avoided.

“The scarf has become some kind of fashion to youth of the area. They wear it around their necks or backs. So the soldiers asked why they were wearing the scarfs on their backs, they said ‘are you women’?” He explained.

“The soldiers went around arresting the youth. They arrest whoever they found wearing a scarf. So, this is what provoked the situation.”

The fate of the soldiers and the youths who started the violence is not clear.

The SSPDF launched the disarmament exercise in Tonj areas in July due to what it described as the militarized nature of communal violence there.

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