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Murle Community refutes allegation of child abduction

The Murle community of Pibor in Boma state has refuted allegations that they are the ones who have been abducting children from Lokoya and Lulubo areas of Jubek state East of the national capital Juba.

The Murle have been accused of abducting children from Lirya, Lokiliri, and Lowoi payams of Jubek state over the past twenty years. Some children who were abducted have been recovered, while dozens remain missing.

Christopher Sebit Arkangelo, a local government Administrator at Jubek state, who conducted an academic research for the award of a post-graduate diploma at the Center for Peace and Development Studies at the University of Juba, has written a lot of articles on the phenomenon of child abduction in Lokoya and Lulubo areas.

He said three quarters of the respondents who answered his research questions concluded that the Murle from Pibor are the ones abducting children from the Lulubo and Lokoya areas.

“The research came out with a number of findings: the most important finding is that child abduction in Lokoya and Lulubo area is linked to the Murle ethnic group, that is the main finding of the research,” Mr. Christopher stated.

“Most of the participants in the research believe that it is the Murle who abducted their children, three-quarters of the participants whom I interviewed said so. And also I based my findings on the fact that most of the children recovered were found in Murle land,” Mr. Sebit added.

There has been no official response from the Murle community regarding the allegations lavished against them.
However this week, the government of Boma state broke the silence by openly stating that the allegations against the Murle people are “false”, and threatened to take legal action against those who continue to accuse the Murle of child abduction in Equatoria region.

“The distance between Lokiliri and Pibor is a long distance, does this person who said the Murle are the ones abducting children from their areas knows this, and does he have evidence,” Boma state Minister of Local Government, Stephen Kony, told a local radio station in Juba.

“The research may be bias, does it have credible evidence? Otherwise, we will take legal action against the person who has written this research,” Kony cautioned.

The Minister said since his appointment as Minister of Local Government in Boma state, there has been no complain or report citing any community member from Pibor having abducted a child from Lokiliri or Lirya payams of Jubek state.
In May last year, Ethiopia’s army entered South Sudan to search for over 100 children who were abducted allegedly by a South Sudanese militia during a cross-border cattle raid.
Ethiopia said the raiders killed over 200 people and blamed the attack on an ethnic Murle militia from South Sudan’s Boma area, which borders Ethiopia’s Gambela region.

By Staff Writer

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