National, News

Looming Pochalla attack worries civil society

By William Madouk

South Sudan activists have waved a red flag over reports that armed youth group in Pochalla County, Pibor, has planned to attack government forces.

Jonglei civil society network chairperson, Bol Deng Bol, and executive director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation, Edmund Yakani, call for quick intervention.

The activists appeal to President Salva Kiir to respond in thwarting the alleged mobilization of the armed youth.

According to Mr. Owiti Olung, acting commissioner of Pochalla South County, ten people were killed and eight others wounded in a fight that erupted on Sunday morning between the army and youth.

The recent incident followed firing of heavy artillery and gunships to deter the armed youth from overrunning the military base.

In a statement seen by this outlet, Mr. Bol said about 750 heavily armed elements had left Pibor for Pochalla for an attack.

Bol appeals to the top leadership to deploy South Sudan People’s Defense Forces to protect civilians from the looming violence.

“I am appealing to the president of the Republic of South Sudan to intervene and order the SSPDF to stop this operation,” said Bol.

Activist Bol claimed that South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), accompanied by armed youth from Pertet and Pibor, were heading towards Pochalla with a mission to recapture a military base earlier captured by armed youth.

“This recent move towards Pochalla is most likely to fight the civilians again and probably reclaim their bases. This is a massacre in the making,” Bol noted.

“A nation’s army should never stoop that low to accept battle with civilians, armed or not. There have to be other ways to negotiate through this conflict,” Bol continued.

He urged the army to perform its national duty of protecting all civilians.

Meanwhile, Edmund Yakani also calls on the president to address the increasing violence against civilians in most parts of the country.

“Your Excellency President, as you have promised to the nation in your several national addresses that under your watch the country will never return to violence, I also wish that under your leadership the country is not allowed to carry out communal deadly clashes,” Yakani recounts.

Yakani urges President Salva Kiir to delve preventive measures to annihilate violence in the country.

“Therefore, I am urging the president, with due respect and honor, under your leadership to instruct preventative measures for emerging deadly violence across the country,” he echoed.

CEPO’s boss added that it’s essential for the government to protect communities against any form of violence.

“The continuous communal violence discourages our citizens who are in both refugee and IDP camps, and they will never return to the country when they see that within the country, we are losing our lives and properties,” he stressed.

Yakani further urged the government to perform its constitutional duty to protect civilians.

“CEPO is urging the national parliament and council of states to urgently intervene in Pochalla county violence before it turns into genocide,” the statement signed by the organization’s Executive Director Edmund Yakani reads in part.

“The deadly violence in Pochalla and the renewal of deadly violence between Twic Mayardit and Ngok Dinka, including the recent killing of civilians in some of Yei River County, are disturbing and worrying at this moment,” it added.

Yakani underlined that the ongoing violence in Pochalla County, Greater Pibor Administrative Area, is getting less attention from Juba, just like other similar violence that happened in the past.”

He further urged Kiir and the parliament “to prevent violence against civilians” across the country, in Pochalla, Twic Mayardit, Ngok Dinka, and other parts of the country.”

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