Ten killed in Fashoda fresh violence

By William MadouK Garang

At least ten people mainly elders were reportedly killed and thousands of civilians fled their homes following an attack by armed group in Fashoda County of Upper Nile State.

In an exclusive interview with No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, Fashoda County Commissioner Joseph Aban confirmed the attack and alleged that the attackers are militias loyal to Kitgwang faction and Agwelek.

“Armed groups who were fighting in Panyikang County extended their aggression to Fashoda county on Saturday, the group briefly clashed yesterday until morning of today (Monday) but now the situation has returned to normalcy,” Aban said.

Commissioner Aban said large number of people were forced to flee their homes from several villages after attack and looting that prompt them to seek refuge at protection of civilians’ sites.

He called on humanitarian agencies to support the displaced people citing that people are now under dire humanitarian situation sheltering under trees despite rains and floods.

Mr. Aban urged armed group to return to their military base for peace and tranquility to reign as well as called on government to beef up security to avoid such attacks.  

“We call on gov’t to beef up the security and warn those holding guns not to turn guns against his neighbor so that his neighbor will think other way around,”

However, the spokesperson of Gen. Simon Gatwech, Brig-Gen Alfred Gach Thot distanced themselves from the attack, citing that their base is only in Tunja which is about 100 km away from Fashoda.

 “To be honest with you we don’t have any forces in Fashoda area so our forces are currently in Tunja and when we are talking about Tunja we are talking about Panyikang areas were our forces are stationed,” Thot said.

“For us in SPLA-IO Kitgwang, the area where this alleged attack happened is very far from us, if you know the Tunja and Fashoda are different counties -almost 100 kilometers away from that area, and if there is any (of our) forces attacking Fashoda we will be informed as a leader of SPLM-IO Kitgwang,” he added.

He cited that Agwelek forces under Johnson Olony are the only ones in control of Fashoda area because it’s the Collo land.

“That area of Fashoda is under Olony – it’s a Collo area and we distance ourselves from that attack, saying the area belong to Agwelek.”

In rebuttal, the head of Agwelek advance team in Juba, Paul Achobek said they didn’t have forces in Fashoda, asserting if there was a fight then it could be Gatwech forces. 

“We have existence there and nobody went there and if there is a fight there that might be Gatwech forces,”

Meanwhile, SSPDF Spokesperson, Major General Lul Ruai said the areas that were attacked are not under the government’s control.

He said protecting the civilians is the primary responsibility of the fighting factions in the region.

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