Pibor authorities accuses army for aiding inter-communal fights

By Elia Joseph Loful

Authorities in Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) have accused the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) of division 8 in Jonglei for involvement in the ongoing intercommunal fighting between Lou Nuer and Murle youth.

The fighting which started last week on 11 has displaced an estimated number of 6,000 civilians and 5 people killed, the Secretary General of the GPAA Peter Lebelek Kollen said on Wednesday.

“What is happening in greater Pibor is not only a mere fighting between civilians but we have confirmed that machinery of SSPDF-division 8 and SPLA-IO were involved in the attack,” Lebelek claimed.

The army spokesperson Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang denied the allegations saying they did not get any information concerning the involvement of the army in the civilian’s conflict.

“No, that is not true, you know whenever civilians are fighting we don’t get involved, it is not our responsibility to fight alongside civilians, that is not true. Even when the clashes erupted in greater Lou Nuer areas, we were not involved,” Ruai said.  

Peter appeals for immediate intervention by the National Government.

 “The information we got on the ground is that many civilians are now affected, so we are calling on the government to quickly intervene before the situation becomes worse,” he expressed.

He alleged that the Lou youth have occupied areas of Gumuruk forcing many locals to flee for their safety.

Lowryen Ibon, a representative at the Transitional National Legislative Assembly representing the Pibor Constituency said there were several settlement structures that have been destroyed in the ongoing fighting.

“The attack organized by these youth was very great but we also discovered that government soldiers are giving this youth support. So why is the government fighting civilians? Why do these youth not respect the peace agreement? Ibon questioned.

 Ibon said as leaders they are calling on the government to stop the confrontation taking place in Murle land, and he described the condition as very dire.

He further urges the office of United Nations Mission in Sudan to visit the scene of the clashes in order to verify the facts and establish the facts of the conflict.

In February inter-communal fighting occurred between Lou Nuer and Murle, and last month Murle youth responded by attacking Lou Nuer areas as retaliation. Greater Jonglei has been experiencing constant inter-communal violence and cattle rustling before and immediately after South Sudan attained independent in 2011.

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