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BOR - 3 May 2021

Jonglei inhabitants decry escalating insecurity

Residents in Jonglei State have expressed fears about the deteriorating security situation there.

The amplified incidents and frequency of violent attacks, ranging from road ambushes to cattle raids, come amidst ongoing efforts aimed at restoring peace and security to the troubled Jonglei region.

In the most recent incidents, at least four people were killed, three children abducted and several others injured in deadly road ambushes in the northern part of the state.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, several residents decried the growing insecurity incidents as peace initiatives continue.

In late March, a conference aimed at pacifying the communities of Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) was concluded in Jonglei’s Uror County, and it resulted in the handing over of 48 abductees to their families.

“The continued road attacks over the past two weeks have wreaked havoc in the county, disrupting transports. The Uror-Bor road is the only lifeline for services to the greater Lou areas. Now, there is no access to goods and other services. Our situation is really bad,” Charles Deng Deng, a resident of Uror said.

Another local, Both Kuer, warned that the recurring road attacks will likely trigger more cyclic violence if not addressed. He called on the government to boost security along the roads linking the state capital to the rest of the counties.

In Duk, Aleer Deng, said, “We thought there would be peace in Jonglei following several peace conferences held over the past months but attacks are still ongoing. Like 3 days ago, a 60-year-old woman was killed between Padiet and Canal by unknown people. So, we want our government to intervene.”

Bior John, a Bor resident, also urged the national government to address the recurring insecurity by implementing the security arrangements and ensuring a buffer zone is created and a disarmament exercise is carried out in Jonglei. 

Major General Joseph Mayen Akon, the state police commissioner, admitted that the security has been deteriorating in parts of the state over the past weeks and that they are working with the relevant government agencies to improve security.

“Since February, our state has been seeing a rise in the insecurity incidents, especially in the areas of Duk, Ayod, Akobo, and Uror. According to eyewitness accounts, we suspect the criminal groups involved in the attack to have crossed from GPAA because they were also implicated in some recent cattle raids,” Gen. Mayen said.

The senior police, however, pointed out that necessary security arrangements have been made to contain the situation.

For her part, Veronica William Deng, the state information minister, condemned the recurring insecurity incidents and assured locals of their safety.

“As the Cabinet, we had agreed to deploy security forces to the Gadiang area to provide protection and safety to our travelers. As a government, we regret those insecurity incidents. And my message to our people is that the road is now protected,” she stressed.

Wani Michael, the Executive Director of the civil society Okay African Foundation, condemned the recurring insecurity in Jonglei amidst the ongoing grass-root peace initiatives. He called on the government to intervene by deploying security forces to the hotspot areas to deter a return to more inter-communal violence.