South Sudan

Leaders of Akobo’s Lou-Nuer ask for more civilian protection

News and Press Release
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February 28, 2013 (JUBA) – Jonglei’s Lou-Nuer community leaders from Akobo county have petitioned the government to provide more protection to the civil population following the recent brutal killing of their members by a rebel group.

The Pibor County’s based rebels of David Yauyau, a Murle, unleashed their violent rebellion on migrating unarmed Lou-Nuer civilians of Walgak, killing over 100 of them, mostly children and women.

A team of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) that inspected the site of the attack confirmed the incident and verified the number of dead bodies.

Thousands of people were also displaced by the incident and have crossed over to the neighbouring Ulang county of Upper Nile state, prompting fears of humanitarian disaster in the area.

The community leaders who were accompanied by Justice John Luk Jok and the Akobo county commissioner, Goi Joyool, on Thursday met with the country’s vice President, Riek Machar, in Juba and presented to him a number of concerns which included provision of protection and increased humanitarian interventions in the affected areas.

Vice President’s press secretary, James Gatdet Dak, told the Sudan Tribune that the community, which was also willing to make peace and reconcile with the Murle community, asked for compensation of the cattle raided as well as return of women and children that were abducted by the neighbouring tribe.

The largest state in South Sudan in both population and land mass has been experiencing inter-communal conflicts and a number of post-independence rebellions previously by late George Athor as well as the current rebellion by David Yauyau.

Murle community leaders have also alerted the authorities that the armed youth in the community have joined the rebellion in avoiding the state-wide disarmament exercise which commenced last year.

Vice President Riek Machar also visited the main Murle town of Pibor last Sunday in an effort to convince the Murle community to listen to the government and urged the Murle youth through their elders to abandon the rebellion of Yauyau.

The deputy minister of Interior, Salva Mathok Gengdit, however told the press on Thursday that David Yauyau has refused to respond positively to the government’s offer for peaceful settlement to his rebellion.

Yauyau, a semi-illiterate priest turned politician, rebelled in 2010 after losing the election while contesting as a member of parliament to represent his area. His rebellion has been supplied with weapons and ammunitions by Khartoum to destabilise Jonglei state, officials have maintained.

The South Sudan leadership has urged Murle civilians to move to their towns from their scattered villages in the bushes for better protection and to avoid being hurt in the event of the likely intensive and extensive military confrontations with the rebels before the rainy season.