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JUBA - 6 Jan 2021

Kiir directs security apparatus to end armed conflicts, road ambushes

South Sudan’s National Security Committee held a meeting in Juba yesterday, Tuesday, and discussed the rampant road ambushes, attacks, and inter-communal fighting in different parts of the country.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, the presidential adviser for national security affairs, Tut Gatluak Manime, said the security sector has been directed by the president to immediately put a halt to road ambushes, cattle raids, and intercommunal clashes in the country.

“We met with the minister of interior and directed the security organs to carry out inspection visits to the areas where there are conflicts and move cattle away from in and around Juba city. Also, they have been directed to make sure that our roads are secure by deploying troops along the roads to ensure full protection of all people,” Gatluak said.

“We call upon the state authorities, especially the governors, to work on the protection of the lives of the people of South Sudan. We also want to tell our citizens that we will not allow anyone to undermine the country’s sovereignty and security. We want citizens to respect the law and order across South Sudan,” he added.

Reacting to the news, Edmund Yakani, the executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), welcomed the decision made by the security committee and advised that the intervention by the security officials honor principles of human rights protection and rule of law.

Yakani called upon the citizens to abstain from this inter-communal violence and said President Salva Kiir should issue an executive order for legal steps to be taken against individuals fueling inter-communal conflict.

He appealed to the president to constitute a national multi-stakeholder mechanism, free of politicians, to handle inter-communal violence in the country.

While political violence has largely subsided in South Sudan since the signing of a peace agreement in September 2018, conflicts among communities in the country, often fought over cattle, continue to result in the killing and injuring of civilians.

Last week, Dr. Paul Pitiya Benjamin Yugusuk, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan Archbishop of the Central Equatoria Internal Province, accused elements of the SSPDF of robbing Christians in Lainya County.

The Archbishop said, “These problems are not only happening here but all over South Sudan. We need training for our soldiers. We have soldiers who are not trained and they must be trained. Some soldiers have stayed in one place for a long time without being transferred. There are many categories. They are also the issue of pay, soldiers are not paid and they don’t have food. So they are hungry and looking for food. They need to be paid and they need their food. This is very important.”

Dr. Yugusuk said not all the soldiers are bad and that there are organized and good soldiers in Kupera and Lainya and other places, “For example, in Kupera, the soldiers are nice and live in harmony with the civilians and the latter even contribute food for them but there are also bad ones who carry out atrocities and rob people like in Loka and Berega.”