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Gov’t cautioned on disarmament without consultation

By Martha David /Agency

The South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms has cautioned the government against disarmament of civilians without community consultation and strategic preparation.

In the report the agency reported post disarmament and community Security arrangement risks worsening the security situation for civilians.

In a press statement forwarded to Juba Monitor, the Head of Secretariat of South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, Geoffrey Lou  said that  approaching disarmament exercise without addressing the fact that drives communities to arms themselves.

“We have also seen in the past the government disarm civilians without plan to protect them in the aftermath of disarmament, not long after that these communities suffered devastating attacks from criminals, largely neighboring communities, we cannot afford to repeat mistakes of the past and expect better results now,” said Lou in the statement.

Mr. Lou stated that as a result of the past disarmament some communities suffered scaring death tolls and loss of livelihoods.

“It is well documented that some members of disarmament forces were involved in abuse of civilians including torturing civilians to extract arms. Disarmament has also involved violent confrontations between disarmed forces with notable casualties on both sides,” he said.

According to Mr. Lou, the government should create nationwide awareness and consultation amongst the communities on the need to disarm. He said it should include input from citizens on the best way to conduct peaceful and voluntary civilian disarmament and how to address the issues that drive them to acquire and keep arms.

He noted that a plan to meaningful protection of communities as a result of disarmament, clear measures needed to build confidence between and within communities especially those with recent history of violent interactions to address their perception of vulnerability.

“We urge the government of South Sudan to prioritize two trajectories to address inter-communal violence and community insecurity, one that focuses on calling for ceasefire among conflicting communities, deploying forces to act as buffers between warring communities and creating space for dialogue to address their conflicts,” said Lou.

He further said the use of forces should be the very last resort after meaningful effort have been made while working together with communities, civil societies, religious leaders and the international community.         

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