Two people critically wounded, 7 others arrested over demolition exercise in Rumbek

By Yang Ater Yang

Authorities in Lakes State have confirmed that two people have been critically wounded, and 7 others arrested during clashes between security forces and residents of Akuac over demolition exercise in Rumbek town.

Over 300 households which are residing around Rumbek national secondary school vicinity were ordered to leave the school land, but some of the residents claimed they possess documents of the land in question from the ministry of land in the state.

The incident occurred on Tuesday morning at 10:30 AM.

The acting police spokesperson in Lakes State, Lieutenant Colonel Moses Machuoc Bol told media on Tuesday that two people were critically wounded in Akuac residential area of Rumbek town during the demolition exercise enforcement.

He said the 2 people who are critically injured are currently receiving treatment in Rumbek State hospital.

“It was this morning at 10:00 am when security forces were deployed to supervise the government demolition exercise in Rumbek Secondary School, but some residents living around Rumbek senior secondary School resisted the demolition and they decided to attack security forces and surveyors with stones, and pieces of wooden sticks which resulted into shootings and two people identified as Mangar Riel Roljak, and Gum Chol Manyiac were wounded and they are receiving treatment in Rumbek State hospital,” he said.

The police spokesperson said only one person shot sustained a life-threatening gunshot wound in his stomach and the other sustained a mouth gunshot wound.

“We are urging the residents of Akuac area to evacuate peacefully, and to allow government to do demolition exercise. This area belongs to Rumbek senior secondary School,” he stated.

Meanwhile the acting minister of information and communication in Lakes State William Koji Kirjok denied any injuries of people wounded or killed during the clashes between Akuac residents and government security forces early in the morning.

“There was no one killed, no one wounded and the demolition exercise in Rumbek senior secondary School is ongoing, and the situation is calm and normal,” he said.

He said the shooting which occurred in the early morning was to scare away residents from the land especially those who were trying to make resistance against the survey.

“These people are occupying government’s land in Rumbek senior secondary School illegally, and they are told by the state government that everyone should return to their original places, and not in the government land,” he noted.

Koji denied government issuing any legal documents to the residents that were occupying the Rumbek national secondary school land.

“These people don’t have any legal documents, they are carrying illegal documents which they acquired illegally from those who called themselves land owners in Rumbek Town,” he argued.

However, a civil society activist in Lakes State, Daniel Laat Kon confirmed the sporadic shooting which left 2 injured, and 7 people including a chairperson of Lakes State civil society network (CiSON) arrested by security forces deployed in Rumbek senior secondary School.

“I can confirm that 2 people have sustained gunshots wounds while 7 people have been arrested and taken to unknown location including a chairperson of civil society organization network (CiSON) in Lakes State, Hakim Cipuounyuc,” he said.

Laat said the people who have been affected by the demolition exercise are having legal documents issued since 1992.

“You can see bulldozer bringing concrete houses built with utensils in the rooms down, everyone had to ran away and some of them collapsed because of sporadic shooting and heavy weapons used in the residence during the clashes between security forces and angry youths,” he painted a picture of the protestors encounter with security forces.

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