By Yiep Joseph
Insecurity persisted in Yei River County as most businesses close at5pm while other trading centers remain closed due to what is alleged to be fear.
Mary Poni Aloma, a trader in Dare el Salam market said that they close their shops as early as 5pm due to continued insecurity in the area.
“When it comes to 5pm I have to close my shop due to fear that something can happen to me or my shop and the same to others, actually most of the shops in this market close at 5mp while others can reach up to 6pm simply because of insecurity,” Poni said.
He added that before the conflict shops remained operational up to 8pm and at time 10pm.
Amos Sabani John,one of the motorcycle riders added that due to fear, when it reaches 5pm, he stops working and parks his bike at home.
“there are more criminal activities these days we fear being tortured by criminals or being killed that is why we park before 5pm and sometimes before 6pm, things are hard” he expressed
He revealed that citizens are still in fear due to the 2016 conflict and he called on the government to engage the residents in order to seize fear in them.
On his part in a separate inclusive interview, Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa, Commissioner Yei River County Central Equatoria State confirmed that the county remained ata negative trend in regards to the security situation.
“The trend of insecurity we are in is a negative trend, it is a trend that blocks development in our areas” Kanyikwa said
“They (NAS)have been attacking market centers up to today we have not opened the market of Ombasi because of the fear and the threat that the National Salvation Front is posing on the citizens fighting civilian not to come to the market” he expressed.
Commissioner also added that high level of consumption of illegal drugs among the youths contributes to the continued insecurity in the area.
“The insecurity is also supported by Drug Abuse as there is the illegal trade of opium in the area” he said.
He also mentioned that due to absent of usual power in the area, some shops cease to operate at evening hours citing that they close early due to fear.
On the other hand, the commissioner revealed that although there are related insecurity incidents in the area there is improvement in the security situation compare to those days
“We are happy to see improvement in our security taking a very good stage where our people taking concerned that
they play a role that the security of this county the security of the people and security of the property of the people of Yei River- county is a responsibility of each citizen and any government institution of Yei River-county” Cyrus said.
“Since November to December, we have seen great changes in the security although we experience some attacks from National Salvation Front which to some extent are affecting civilian movement and targeting humanitarians’ cars and abducting those people who are proclaiming the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement” he added
Charles AnyikaZacchaeus, head chief of Otogo Payam on separate interview revealed that Ombasi trading center(one of the well-known markets in Yei River county) is still inactive due to fear.
“There are people coming to ombasi on market days but most of them are still hiding deep in the bushes because of the fear”Anyika said.
He accused SSPDF for looting civilians with food and animals due to shortage of food at their bases and urged the government to do immediate supply to keep civilian’s properties safe.
“my appeal to the government is that the government should support the soldiers by supplying food on timely bases to reduce the issues of looting civilian properties by force” he said.
Meanwhile Alex Badi Soka, representative of Tore Payam explains that the presence of SSPDF and the Rebel group around his Payam posed a huge threat to the residents particularly when clashes occur among the forces.
“When the two forces collided in my area, they fought and this is a major threat to us, it has forced many people to cross to Congo” Alex said.
“I want to call on the revitalized government of national unity to work for genuine peace so that our suffering comes to an end,”Alex said.
Luwate Justice Raphael the chairperson for chamber of Commerce in Yei Rivercounty said that business people remain afraid due to lack of trust in regards to the situation.
“People are afraid upto now people have not gained trust of the situation the way it was before, if you are a big business person doing a lot of transactionin the day handling huge amount of money you do not take the risk to stay in your shop beyond five you feel that people are watching, criminals are there and you can’t go upto late hours that is why people closed early and go to their homes to make sure they are safe this is the situation on the ground”Luwate said.
He added that lack of electricity in the area contributed to early closure of shops in the county
He also revealed that the county authorities are fully engaged with the electricity companies to make sure that the electricity is brought back as usual.
Our traders face a lot of challenges apart from fear due to insecurity in the area there is also an issue price discrimination, multiple taxes and lack of cooperation and trust among traders.
“There are multiple taxes levied on traders for example there is county revenue authority, state revenue authority and the national revenue authority all these institutions collect something from the business people” he said.
He called on the national government to look into amicable process of unifying the revenue collection institution in order to reduce continuous complain from the traders
Luwate also urged the government to give loans to the business Union in the county in order to improve and upgrade their businesses.
He also expressed his commitment to improve business cooperation between the business people and the county authorities as means to deliver necessary services to the residents.