29th October 2020
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More deaths reported in clashes between civilians and security officers in Warrap

Authors: Woja Emmanuel | Alshiekh Chol | Published: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Clashes between armed civilians and the army have reportedly led to the death of 24 people in Luanyjang County of Warrap state.

This is according to the former Commissioner of Luanyjang County.

Authorities in the state yesterday said at least 20 people were killed when civilians clashed when the government disarmament forces.

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

An official in Rulnyang County said Saturday’s fighting started after two civilians were shot dead.

The incident reportedly sparked a fierce fight between the army and armed civilians that lasted for more than four hours.

“So many people have died,” said Francis Aguek from Tonj on Monday morning, adding that the number of those killed has risen.

“It has gone to 24 civilians who have been killed and wounded, and many people have been displaced from the area.”

Mr. Aguek added that hundreds of women and children are also seeking safety in the nearby bushes.

“Some houses have been burnt. They [soldiers] burnt schools, the hospital and the drugs store. So the death toll may continue to rise because those wounded have no medication. The area is also muddy, cars cannot access the area to provide help,” Commissioner Aguek concluded.

Last week, the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms suggested that the communities may resist disarmament if the government does not offer them and their cattle enough protection.

Francis Aguek accused the national army of engaging civilians in gun battles in the area.

But the SSPDF  refuted claims that the SSPDF was involved in the fighting that led to the death of the 24 people.

According to the army spokesperson, the clashes were between the police and the armed cattle keepers.

Major General Lul Ruai told Eye Radio that the incident was provoked by armed youth who attempted to forcefully release a relative from detention.

“The incident that occurred was not between SSPDF and civilian or armed Galweng youth it was between the police and an armed civilian that had come to the police station that armed civilian wanted to release his relative using force,” Maj. Gen. Lul stated.

He asserted that the SSPDF intervened as a reinforcement for the police, but later got attacked by the unruly armed civilians.

“The civilian who wanted to release his relative forcefully was shot and killed, and another was wounded as well as the police officer… that exchange of fires forced the SSPDF forces deployed nearby to come and intervene -basically to reinforce the police so they exchanged fire,” said Lul.

Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai also revealed that the armed youth allegedly reorganized and launched another attack on “Romeje that was the reason why there was some fighting on the 9th this month.”

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