South Sudan: Insecurity Soars, over 26 killed in road attacks, about 25 killed in Communal attacks
Separate incidents of inter-communal clashes and road attacks in some parts of South Sudan have left at least 40 people dead, according to local reports.
Most of these deaths are related to communal fights, road ambushes, and banditry. The killings happened in Lakes, Central, and Eastern, and Western Equatoria states, and Ruweng Administrative Area. Central Equatoria state is leading, with the highest number of civilian deaths in just one week.
Recently, a local pastor in South Sudan has been shot dead by a group of unknown gunmen in the country’s Eastern Equatoria state, according to several eyewitnesses and senior state government officials in Torit.
A cattle rustling incident in Kuac County of Unity State left at least eleven people dead while a similar incident in Reweng Administrative Area on the same day left at least six people killed. Meanwhile, in the Equatoria region, road ambushes in the Western and the Central Equatoria States left a total of nine people killed as well.
One incident involved an ambush on the Central Equatoria governor’s envoy, where two of his guards were killed by armed men said to be part of a rebel group. Authorities in Western Equatoria also accused the same rebel group, the National Salvation Front (NAS), of being an incident in Maridi County that claimed five lives.
NAS has not claimed the insurgences.
Why the slow implementation of the 2018 peace accord? The agreement mandated all parties to it to engage with the public by carrying out dialogues and sensitizing them on the peace deal. It also stipulated unification of all forces and disbarment, but none of this has been done.
Also the formation of state government has been slow-paced, even the government formed are not yet settled, solving internal problems rather than solving the people’s issues. For instance, there have been pockets of fight and exchange of correspondence between governors and deputy governors. Some states even suspend some of the members of the government.
The state government is supposed to handle local issues related to gun violence are not proactive, they are busy dealing with irrelevant issues, not seeing the bigger picture These gaps are aiding the killings, which shows a big failure of the unity government.
The presidency lacks a road map that clearly states how it will tackle insurgency across the country. Last month, a report by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) attributed the continued grassroots conflicts and insecurity to the presence of arms in the hands of civilians.
In July last year, President Salva Kiir launched a disarmament campaign across the country in an attempt to end the cycle of violence in restive states. An attempt that failed because it wasn’t done strategically, also the timing is completely wrong. The campaign targeted armed civilians in Lakes, Terekeka, Warrap and Jonglei, among other areas.
The people need to first see the government as the sole security apparatus in the country first, they need to see that the country can protect them against external aggression, the government isn’t biased, all this will be a build of government different intervention and response to insecurity in the country.
The major concern of most communities and the reason they rejected President Kiir’s conflict resolution initiative is that they believed they will be vulnerable to others.
This, they say, can leave some communities vulnerable to others as those unreached in the disarmament efforts will use the opportunity to steal cattle and other belongings, and put their lives in danger.