Death toll in Fashoda attack hits 23

By William Madouk Garang

Authorities in Fashoda County of Upper Nile State reported on Thursday that 23 civilians were killed; eight others were wounded while three children were abducted following an attack on some villages by armed groups this month.

In an exclusive interview with No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, Fashoda county commissioner, Joseph Aban, said most of the deaths are elderly men, women and children including people living with disabilities who couldn’t escape during the attack.

“After those attackers left, we embarked on assessment to find out the number of casualties, and we found that 23 people were killed – they are mainly elderly people, blinds and disabled including three children,”

“While eight people were injured and the attackers also abducted three children – one child is a 14-year-old girl and the other is an eight-year-old girl, they are sisters,”

Commissioner Aban alleged that the attackers were militias loyal to the leader of the Kitgwang faction, General Simon Gatwech and Agwelek forces allied to General Johnson Olony.

Mr. Aban also urged armed groups to return to their military bases for peace and tranquility to reign, while urging the gunmen to return the abducted girls back to their parents.

He cited that security situation is now calm in the area, and called on humanitarian agencies to support people who are under dire humanitarian situation.

According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ report, continued fighting among armed groups in the area have displaced 8,000 civilians in Fashoda County.

The UN agency said armed youth locally known as the White Army are behind the attacks and burning of 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 IDP situation between the two communities remains tense.

It stated that the situation is overwhelming and that additional supplies and capacity would be needed to respond to the conflict-affected population.

However, Kitgwang Declaration under Simon Gatwech and his former ally Johnson Olony of Agwelek are locked up in a fierce blame game over who bears the responsibility for the atrocities committed against civilians in Upper Nile State.

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