By Chol Makol Riak
Authorities in Jonglei state are calling on communities in Jonglei state’s Ayod, Nyirol and Uror counties to cease hostilities following inter-communal clashes that claimed more than a dozen lives in the area.
The Jonglei State minister for local government and law enforcement, Simon Hoth, said the fighting started when a group of armed young men from Ayod and Nyirol counties ganged up and attacked a cattle camp in Uror County leaving 16 people killed on Friday.
“The criminals ganged themselves up—those from Uror and Nyirol Counties—and went to Ayod side and committed a very deadly incident. When they reached in the morning at 4 o’clock, they started killing everybody; 6 women and 2 children were killed, and 4 men—they died on spot and they took the cattle. At the same time 4 of the criminals were killed,” Hoth said.
Hoth said the fighting has been raged throughout the weekends adding the security situation remains tense as the state government engages the communities to cease hostilities and allow law enforcement agencies to arrest the culprits.
“My message to the community which is my community—all of them—they must refrain from criminality; it’s not the way people can live. If you want services, if they want development, they must refrain from going and killing your brothers and sisters randomly because you need cows. We condemn it, those in Ayod, Uror and Nyirol have been living together as brothers and sisters,” Hoth added.
Minister Hoth stated that the state government has been focusing on how to end the inter-communal conflict between communities in Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
He mentioned that the ongoing fighting between the communities from Ayod, Nyirol and Uror counties is a setback and might detail the efforts to restore peace. Hoth said he will be leading a delegation to Ayod County tomorrow to deliver a condolence message from governor Denay Jock Chagor and to urge the communities to cease hostilities.
“Our visit tomorrow has been coordinated by the governor and the UN to go and take the message of the governor and then gather people for meetings from the 3 counties on how we can tackle the criminals. Now they have derived everything back because we have peace with Pibor in which we have been talking about not going to Pibor. Yet they are still fighting themselves alone on that side—that doesn’t have any meaning,” Hoth mentioned.
Tang Chatim, the Uror County Commissioner said the authorities in his area have so far apprehended at least four suspected raiders involved in the violence.
“We agreed that all the criminals from both sides of Gawer and Lou will be arrested. When I left Paluany, I went to Param Payam in Uror County. The people there agreed that they will hand over the thieves to you. So I started my duty and captured 4 criminals and I took them to Uror county headquarters. They are now in custody in Yuai town,” Chatim said.
Over the past years, Jonglei state has experienced waves of inter communal violence, mainly fueled by revenge attacks, cattle raiding and banditry.