MPs urge dialogue between civilians and military in Ikwoto

By Ijoo Bosco

Lawmakers in Ikwoto County have called for a truce between residents and soldiers in the area.

Speaking to No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday, Silvia Imoya, one of the MPs from the area appealed for calm asking both sides to embrace peace.

She said dialogue should be given a chance for purposes of building trust and good relations between the civilian population and the military.

The call came hot on the heels of the recent killing of three people during a six-hour protracted gun battle last Sunday.

Two other people were seriously injured in the fight that paralyzed business in the village. Several residents fled the area following the clash.

A retaliatory attack by a bunch of the soldiers forced a section of residents to scamper for their lives into neighbouring villages. Not spared by the chaos was the local county commissioner who reportedly locked himself in a local church in fear of the reprisals.

On Sunday the randy soldiers took over the town as they engaged local youths in fierce gun battle.

Yesterday, Imoya said the county has been witnessing series of killing related to cattle raids, revenge killing and lately clashes between the soldiers and the youth.

Sources confirmed that the Sunday fight started at a local drinking joint in Hai Turuju suburbs and in the market where the youth engaged the military in shootouts.

Imoya appealed to the national and state governments to recall all the county commissioners and push for a dialogue between the warring sides.

“This thing can be resolved in Ikwoto. Leaders have to sit down and sensitize our people on the need for peaceful solutions in times of conflicts,” she added.

Separately, Muras Chacha, an MP at the Eastern Equatoria State Legislative Assembly has rallied support for dialogue as the best approach to solving communal conflicts in Ikwoto.

Chacha said the State Peace Commission, with support from local partners, should take the lead to define the real cause of insecurity and problems bedeviling the Ikwoto community.

He said some of the conflicts are instigated by outside forces. He said members of the community are better placed to provide solutions to their challenges.

The lawmaker called for the soldiers to avoid any violent confrontation with civilian populations.

Over the past three months, Ikwoto County has been experiencing sporadic fights in local Bomas and Payams.

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