By Philip Buda Ladu
The Commissioner of Kajo-Keji County, Kenyi Erasto Michael said there are no enough police officers in his county to help his administration enforce law and order saying he has only about three officers who are not feeding well and are physically weak to confront criminals.
The Commissioner was responding to lawmakers’ queries at the Central Equatoria State Transitional Legislative Assembly on Wednesday as he was summoned to answer questions directed to him about the serious insecurity concerns and the State of logging in Kajo-Keji.
One lawmaker who represents Kajo-Keji county at the State Assembly questioned Commissioner Kenyi Erasto as to why some warrants of arrest issued against illegal loggers in Kajo-Keji late last year were not executed despite them having been sent to the county authority.
The Community of Nyepo in Kajo-Keji County in November last year 2021 opened a court case in Juba against companies and individuals deeply engaged in massive forest logging after report appeals to the State gov’t to stop the illicit lucrative business went in vain and the destruction of the forest continue at an alarming state.
However, the community efforts to seek legal redress on the matter were met with steep resistance on the ground as the arrest warrants sent to the Commissioner to give directives for the arrest of the companies and individuals indulging in the logging under armed guards could not be executed till date.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner Kenyi Erasto affirmed that he received the warrant of arrest that was sent to him from Juba.
“I received it Honourable. I received it and took it to the police station and the police office is supposed to get police officers to arrest these guys. Let me be clear to you, the police I have they are either three or five and the loggers who are there are more than that, they are well-built and they are okay. They feed well,” Erasto reflected the situation on the ground.
“In reality, a policeman is supposed to be well-built energetic, and of course they are not supposed to shoot they only take the guns to scare if you are not ready to comply then they grab you from your belt then they pull you,” he exclaimed.
The Commissioner asked the Hon. Member whether he had seen the young guys down there in Kajo-Keji, the loggers.
The Commissioner highlighted the level of incapacity of the law enforcement agencies in dealing with disgruntled energetic loggers.
“Will those people (unenergetic policemen) manage to get the giant those of Mayen and a notorious person like Maduol who has a small body but very good in handling a gun,” Erasto said.
Erasto hilariously painted his sad situation down in Kajo-Keji that he attempted to go himself to arrest criminals and he was beaten off badly.
“The situation in Kajo-Keji cannot be summarized to Kenyi Erasto that he is defeated, no! Now look at my health (featured looking slim and physically weak) “if I attempt to go that let me also go and arrest, those people (loggers) will arrest me and beat me like a kid and it will come out a story.”
“So, I am happy with this sitting today so that you take from me and re-enforce me and see whether this things will not come to an end,” he added.
Moro Isaac Jenesio, the State Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement Agencies acknowledged that he had learned of the incapacitated law enforcement agencies not only in Kajo-Keji county but it’s a State wide concern in all the counties.
He acknowledged the fact that there is inadequate police force to enforce law and order in the communities against illegal logging.
“As you know we are implementing the peace and, most of these forces were taken for training, they are still in the training centers until now, the leadership has not yet decided on when to graduate them” Moro told this reporter.
He said they are equally on the same page with the Commissioner and everyone in the country is looking out to the graduation of the unified force especially those at the State level so that they would be able to deploy them in order to enforce law and order.
“We do not have enough, we have some police officers and most of them are only deployed on issues of emergencies and that’s what we were able to discuss with the Commissioner and then he deploys them for a specific period of time and also recall them because the force that we have now is very little, it’s actually a small force that can manage only emergencies especially in the city,” Moro said.