Activist suspects politicians, army generals behind gun supply to herders

By Bida Elly David

The Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said the ongoing destructions and attacks against civilians by armed cattle herders seemed to have been generated by the influence of some politicians and army generals who own the cattle.

CEPO’s Edmund Yakani, told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that he never trusted statements issued by political leaders and army generals over eviction of cattle from farmlands in Equatoria region saying that it is a political game to cover sins.

He slammed the leadership of Central Equatoria State against the murder of four civilians in Lainya County following a political propaganda that the governor played to have evicted herders from the areas.

“From our sources as civil society organization who work with early warning system, we have seen an increase in what we call hotspots of the potential deadly violence between pastoralists and farmers in some parts of the Country, mainly Central Equatoria State especially, Kajo-Keji, Morobo, Yei and Lainya,” he said.

Yakani said the same saga has speedily exceeded parts of Western Equatoria State bordering Central especially Tore among others noting that the cattle camps are surrounded by brutal well-armed herders causing threats to the host communities.

The Activist questioned the source of heavy and unique types of ammunitions being used by the cattle herders saying that the guns used are being exported from a well-known source within the current authority.

“These people are terrorizing civilians with their heavy guns. Civilians have got right to blame the government of Central Equatoria State against the repeated attacks. There is silence with investigations, up to now we don’t know what is going on. It didn’t take time immediately the incident for the killing of the innocent civilians in Lainya happened,” he echoed.

CEPO’s executive director stated that some innocent communities who formerly had no intension to wage revenge have starting mobilizing arms for defense terming it to be political failures from leaders despite the presidential orders.

“If communities can access arms, which means that the scenarios or the stories we used to hear behind some parts of the Country is deadly since communities that never held guns in history are now brutal,” he said.

Yakani stated that the actual owners of those cattle roaming in the Equatoria region are not those innocent civilians grazing them.

“Those who go behind those cattle are not the rightful owners of the cattle. Some of the owners are political figures, security figures in the government and retired generals,” he alleged.

The activist said that these political and military heads within the government undermined the orders of the president for the return of cattle back to their places.

“How the national and state government can allow a certain level of civilians to be well armed and use the ammunitions in their hands to bully indigenous communities in their own land if not politically motivated,” he questioned.

Yakani submitted that any leader without competency or will to put security in order deserves to be axed from his position and replaced with immediate effect.

Comments are closed.