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BUDI - 30 Mar 2021

Governor Lobong survives deadly attack, 2 killed

Governor Louis Lobong Lojore [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]
Governor Louis Lobong Lojore [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]

The Governor of Eastern Equatoria state Louis Lobong Lojore narrowly survived after armed youth in Budi County laid an ambush on his convoy on Monday.  

One of his bodyguards and a wife to the Division Commander were killed in the ambush, while two other people sustained injuries.

Governor Lobong traveled to Camp 15 on Monday, following a Sunday night attack on Camp 15 that left 17 people dead, four injured, and houses torched.

Eastern Equatoria State information minister Martin Oting Cyprian told Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday that the governor is safe and sound. 

"The government mission was a peace mission to talk to the youth of Buya to allow the highway to be opened so that vehicles can move freely as well as to cool the situation down. After addressing the youth, the meeting went very well and when they were now on their vehicles to go to Kapoeta to also talk to the Toposa about the same mission, the governor's convoy was attacked by Buya youth," he narrated. 

He added, “It is an attempt on the governor's life because the meeting was over and as the governor was leaving he was attacked and in the process of random shooting directly on the convoy one soldier was killed on spot, one civilian was killed on spot including two soldiers and one civilian injured. Currently, the governor is safe and the team, currently the Tiger forces from Juba have arrived to rescue the situation.” 

According to the minister, the state government will deal with the attackers, whom he says are working against peace efforts in the region.

“The government will continue working for peace but if they continue persisting to what they are doing, then the government will take strong measures to deal with that kind of people," he noted. 

Governor Lobong's press secretary Aliandro Lotok, who was also in the convoy, said they were surprised by the attack, after what they thought was a successful peaceful discussion with the youth in the area.

“We want to thank the President's Tiger, a huge number of forces from Tiger Division has now arrived and from the National Security Service just a few minutes ago and they are all here. These forces are primarily here to rescue and evacuate him because we were besieged from 4 pm yesterday till morning," he added. 

Lotok said it is not clear whether the governor will proceed to Kapoeta or return to the state capital Torit but pointed out that the security forces are working to restore law and order in the region.

Lobong's press secretary says the road between Camp 15 to Kapoeta has been impassable since the attack on Lowareng cantonment last week but he believes calm will be restored with the presence of the Tiger forces on the ground.

The chairperson for the Civil Society Network in the state Charles Okullu Cypriano condemned the attacks but blamed the government for failing to act in time on matters affecting civilian lives.

“The government is not solving problems promptly when you approach a problem when it has reached a boiling point the situation may not be well but what we see according to our sources there is an accumulation of issues in that Camp 15 especially between the Buya and the Toposa," Okullu said. "The role of government is to quickly come in address the issues and let people know that it is resolved but when people are killed and the government is quiet then people will think the government is incapable of solving issues.” 

Eastern Equatoria State has been experiencing a wave of insecurity in recent days.