Poll result Robbery, killings threat to civilians
(L-R) Deputy Minister of Interior, Riaw Gatlier Gai receives Civilian Safety opinion Poll report from SSUNDE Chairperson James Okony Dau (photo by Moses Gum)
By Moses Gum Degur
A new report released by South Sudanese Network for Democracy and Elections indicated that continued armed robbery and unnecessary killings of civilians has become a major threat to lives of citizens across the country.
The public Dialogue and Launch of civilian Safety Opinion Poll Report was held at Quality Hotel in Juba on Tuesday.
The Opinion Poll survey that took place between June 15, 2018 and August 30, 2018 covered the former 10 states of South Sudan: Aweil, Bentiu, Bor, Juba, Kuajok, Malakal, Rumbek, Torit, Wau, and Yambio.
According to the SSUNDE Opinion Poll report, as a result of the prolonged conflict; continued armed robbery had become a leading threat to citizens’ safety majored at 21 percent, followed by revenge killings at 20.6 percent.
It further added that the declining economic crisis was also a leading security concern as citizens struggle to put food on the table and resort to crime for survival. Other notable safety threats include: GBV, cattle raiding, and road ambushes according to the respondents.
“Regionally, civilians continued to view armed robbery as a significant security threat in Aweil at 38.2 percent, Juba 32.9 percent, and Wau 28 percent,” it said.
Meanwhile, citizens in major three cities of Rumbek, Bentiu, and Yambio expressed greatest concern about unnecessary civilian killings at 27 percent, and 23.6 percent respectively.
The report also shows a considerable perceived drop in revenge killings in Rumbek at 9.4 percent, while in Malakal it is of highest concern at 23.6 percent of respondents reporting revenge killing as a major threat to their safety.
In the report it said the threats identified significantly affected citizens’ way of life and it had caused massive displacement of citizens from their ancestral lands to urban centres or internally displaced people’s camps.
“23.8percent of respondents argued that it has caused immense loss of lives and properties. Another 22.5percent and 22.2percent believe that some of the threats have led to disruption in normal farming practices and created fear among citizens, respectively,” the report said.
It added that the threats had led to the disruption of farming activities in rural and urban areas of Juba, Torit and Yambio.
According to the report, the citizens recommended the need for the government to train more police and deploy them in the communities especially in hotspot areas which act as criminal hideouts.
“Majority of the respondents wish to see government and the rebel groups sign geniune, permanent and sustainble peace deal. They argued that some of the crimes civilians face are indirect consequences of the rampant violence in the country. And if peace deal is reached by the parties, this will facilitate quicker resolution of crimes in the towns,” the report said.
It further added that citizens wished to see heightened security surveillance at night and specific hideouts of armed criminals in the major towns such as Juba, Wau and Torit; as they attributed the rising cases of night murder, rape and robbery to lack security or laxity mostly at night while recommending government to step up patrols and curfews to stop the carnage.
The civil population called for a massive disarmeament to remove guns from civilians across the country.
James Okony Dau, chairperson SSUNDE said armed robbery and unnecessary killing of civilians remained a major threat which he added placed citizens’ lives at highest risk across the country.
He stressed the need to address the insecurity threats among citizens in order to restore public trust and order.
Okony urged the government to step up efforts to combat criminal acts against the civil population across the country.
The Deputy Minister of Interior Riaw Gatlier Gai said the civil population played a vital role in reporting challenges facing them in their daily lives rather than bearing the brunt of humiliation silently.
He said civilians must report crimes to the security apparatus to ensure that their lives and properties are protected by the government.
“Information is power to know what is happening among citizens. If citizens share with government information in the grassroots then all these crimes could be easily curb,” Riaw said.
He said many civilians had come to believe that the government was doing its best to improve the security in Juba and major towns and the same system would extend to rest of the country.
The deputy Minister urged the civil population to report crimes while assuring them of full protection of their lives and properties.