By Charles K Mark
A joint security force reported on Friday that it seized over 300 weapons including machine guns from unauthorized persons in Gondokoro Payam.
This comes after the residents there complained of harassment by the forces deployed there to carry out the disarmament.
Gen. James Thoi Chany, South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) Deputy Chief of Defense for Operation said the disarmament has now turned into a nationwide exercise.
“The process of collecting and disarming illegally possessed weapons will not stop, it will continue,” he told the state broadcaster –SSBC
The head of the operation urged citizens whose arms were collected to be eyes and monitors of their brothers by reporting those whose illegal arms had not been collected yet.
“If you are disarmed and you know someone who is not disarmed you must report to the security,” Gen. Thoi said.
What was thought as an exercise meant only for security maintenance during festivities has now taken center stage for a real and possible military mission.
Weapons such as AK47, P.KM, RPG, and Colt monitor among others are said to have been seized from unauthorized individuals in Gondokoro.
However, some media reports quote Chief Ramdan Juma Wani, refuting the report, saying only five (5) guns were collected from Gondokoro.
Meanwhile, SSPDF Chief of Operations, Paul Nang Majok attributed the relative peace along Bor High, to disarmament that was previously conducted.
The general however revealed that a committee comprising SSPDF, Police, and Central Equatoria State Officials was formed to investigate any violations during the operation.
“We held a meeting with the state (CES), and a committee headed by the state’s security advisor was formed to investigate the alleged violations that occurred on the Island,” Nang said.
About 19 people inclusive of four traditional chiefs were arrested on 31st December 2023 during the disarmament operation in Gondokoro Payam and some released later on.
Civilians and some Church leaders criticized the exercise saying it inflicted pain as residents complained of torture, looting, and harassment.