By William Madouk Garang
President Salva Kiir Mayardit has appealed to the people of Upper Nile to overcome their differences by forgiving and reconciling with each other for peace to prevail in their region and the country at large.
The head of the state communicated this during the funeral rites of late Lt. Gen Alfred Akwoch Omoli, ex-minister of Wildlife Conservation & Tourism who died in Uganda last week due to cardiac unrest.
“President Salva Kiir urges the people of Upper Nile to forgive one another over the damages caused by the recent conflicts in order for peace to prevail in Upper Nile and the nation at large,” partially read the statement posted on the Official Presidential Facebook page.
While addressing mourners at Medan Simba cemetery in Giada, President Kiir eulogized late Akwoch as a great liberator who contributed enormously towards freedom struggle of the nation.
President Kiir also recalled their historical time during the liberation struggle, in which he described the Late Akwoch as a true brother and nationalist.
“When we were in the bush with Alfred Akwoch, we stayed together and we used to share the little we could get. All the children and grandchildren of Alfred Akwoch must count on us, any time you should knock on our doors, and we will be there for you” said President Kiir.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (UN OCHA) latest report said, roughly 8,000 civilians have been displaced in Fashoda County due to continued fighting among armed groups in the area.
In a statement, the UN agency accused armed youth locally known as the white Army of attacking and burning villages including Kodok and other locations.
OCHA said since the conflict started along the River Nile in mid-August, over 18,000 civilians have sought shelter at Malakal PoC, adding that the IDPs situation between two communities remains tense.
OCHA stated that the situation is overwhelming and that additional supplies and capacity would be needed to respond to the conflict-affected population.
Meanwhile, Fashoda Commissioner Joseph Aban confirmed to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper earlier that at least ten people mostly elders were killed and thousands of civilians fled their homes following an attack by armed groups
Commissioner Aban alleged that the attackers are militias loyal to leader of the Kitgwang faction, General Simon Gatwech.
Yet, 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.
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 existence there and nobody went there and if there is a fight there, that might be Gatwech forces,” Achobek earlier said.