By William Madouk Garang
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ latest report said 8,000 civilians have been displaced in Fashoda County due to continued fighting among armed groups in the area.
According to OCHA, humanitarian staff and thousands of civilians relocated from their compounds in Kodok town to the Kodok humanitarian hub under UNMISS for safety.
In a statement seen by No.1 Citizen, the UN agency accused armed youth locally known as the white Army of attacking and burning villages including Kodok and other locations.
“Continued fighting between armed groups in Fashoda County, in Upper Nile on 8 and 9 October has displaced an estimated 8,000 people from Kodok town and other locations,” said the UN agency.
“On 8 October, suspected White army youth carried out attacks in Dauth, Patoaw and Nyagara near Lul in Fashoda County,” OCHA said.
In response, people in Fashoda County and the environs mobilized to defend their positions.
“On 9 October, White Army youth reportedly attacked Nyigier, a village located a few kilometers from Kodok town. As attacks advanced toward Fashoda County, the seat of the Shilluk King, tensions increased,” it added.
The UN humanitarian agency said since the conflict started along the River Nile in mid-August, over 18,000 civilians have sought shelter at Malakal PoC site, adding that the IDPs situation between two communities remains tense.
UNOCHA stated that aid agencies are ready to provide initial life-saving assistance to the displaced persons.
However, it said the situation is overwhelming and that additional supplies and capacity would be needed to respond to the conflict-affected population.
On Monday, Fashoda Commissioner Joseph Aban confirmed that at least ten people mainly elders were killed and thousands of civilians fled their homes following an attack by armed groups.
The Fashoda Commissioner alleged that the attackers were militias loyal to the leader of Kitgwang faction, General Simon Gatwech.
He 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.
However, the spokesperson of 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.
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 the gov’t distanced themselves from that attack saying the area belong to Agwelek.”
But the head of Agwelek advance team, Paul Achobek said they didn’t have forces in Fashoda, asserting if there was a fight then it could be Gatwech forces.
“We have no existence there and nobody went there and if there is a fight there that might be Gatwech forces,” he said.