By William Madouk
South Sudan’s Jonglei State has condemned attacks on returnees between Akobo East and West that led to death of 12 people and abduction of 5 children.
The State Minister of Information, Elizabeth Nyadak said the victims were returnees from Ethiopia.
“The perpetrators went away with five children—three boys and two girls—together with different types of properties on Sunday, September 9, 2023,” she said.
Armed youth from Greater Pibor Administrative Area are suspected to have launched the attack at Puot-Puotni area of Akobo County that claimed the lives of the returnees.
Ms. Nyadak said it’s unfortunate that criminals have no empathy for the suffering of the refugees, who were spending four months hungry and staring at their faces in neighboring Ethiopia.
Jonglei state government demands explanation from Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) on how to stay during the period of peace implementation.
“These types of activities will only add more oil to the already burning fire that the government of Jonglei State has and is still trying to quench for the sake of peace and harmony between two communities,” she continued.
The Jonglei local authority also called on human rights organizations and the national government to intervene.
“On behalf of the Jonglei state government, we condemn the killing and abduction of innocent returnees in the strongest terms possible,” she added.
Jonglei state calls on GPAA government to recover the abducted children.
Abraham Kelang, the minister of information for the Greater Pibor Administrative Area, said he was not aware of the attack, nor did he receive any official communication from Jonglei authorities.
“I am not aware of that report; since September 9, 2023, up to now, I have not gotten any reports of 12 people killed and 5 abducted from the Jonglei authority, so I am not aware of it,” Kelang told the No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.
Mr. Kelang further urged the Jonglei minister of information to inform GPAA whenever there is an incident to allow authorities to take measures to arrest the culprit or recover the hostage.
“I call my colleague to know that; if any incident happens before you report, call me first to know what has happened, and then, in my capacity as spokesperson for GPAA, I will manage to talk with commissioners in the area concerned to net those criminals,” he said.
“As the government of GPAA, we are always in peace resolution; in our search, if we get that the information is true and we find the [abducted] kids, I will communicate,” he added.