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Situation in Lainya remained tense

By Bullen Bala Alexander

Situation in Lainya remained tense as the local authorities continued blame on the army for causing insecurityin the area.

Speaking to Juba Monitor on Phone, the assistant bishop of Lainya Diocese Joel Rufusa Lemi said that throughout the week, the situation remained tense causing panic in the area as people feared what would comes next.

“Here, there is great panic, everybody is not really feeling safe because all the youths, chiefs even the personnel working with NGO on the ground have been accused of being rebel supporters,

How can people feel happy, when our own army can beat, burn houses, loot civilians’ properties and the most dangerous of all, kill innocent people who they are supposed to protect?” Bishop Lemi said yesterday from Lainya County.

He revealed that the way South Sudan army was handling its own people, could not convince any person in the area adding that their behaviorhad left people without trust and faith in army.

“For you to convince somebody here to calm down is a difficult task as we speak now, because people are displaced from their own homes’others came to Lainya town and others in the bushes suffering.”

However, he called on the leaders in the country to look in to the matter and address it so that civilians would calm down.

On his part, Koja Samson Emmanuel a county youth leaderaccused SSPDF for terrorizing the great Lainya villages.

“It has been a discouraging week to the people of great Lainya because as we speak now many of our youth in the area were arrested and others, we do not know their where about,” Emmanuel disclosed.

“What is happening here is that youths, chiefs including religious leaders are beingtargeted and are accused by SSPDF to be rebels.”

He said accusing whole village to be rebel supporters was something that really worried people in the area.

He pleaded with higher authorities in the country to stop what is going on in Lainya County.

“We have suffered enough, why are our own soldiers who aresupposed to protect us doing such things to people? He asked.

He added that “Please, we beg you to give people of Lainya peace we are also part of South Sudan and if we are from this country, then we deserve peace just like other area.”

He called on humanitarian organization in the country to help the situation in the area.

He revealed that since the incident started there was no single intervention from the humanitarian organizations, people were surviving and depending on mangoes.

“But now the fear is that mango season is coming to an end, I am taking this opportunity to appeal to the humanitarian actors to help the situation before many lives are lost,” he stressed.

Earlier last week, Archbishop of Central Equatoria State Internal Province of Episcopal Church of South Sudan Paul Yugusuk accused the army of killing a pastor and other members in Lainya County.

“I regret to inform you, the first month of June 2021 that, the South Sudan People Defense Forces (SSPDF) killed Rev. Cosmas KwajeMatayo the parish priest of Gumbri in cold blood,” Archbishop Yugusuk accused.

“Rev. Matayo was taken along with a ten-year old Simon Taban, an altar servant, and elder Moses Wani, who was also the area chief and elder Benjamin Lucky. All were killed in cold blood,” he added.

The claim which was refuted by the SSPDF spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang and term it untrue.

“The alleged worshipers killed in Lainya were not killed by us, what we know there was a problem at Gumbri which is two hours walk from Lainya town and its location inhibited by the NAS, it had no church. It had only plastic shelters mostly plastics sheets that were mostly used by rebels,” Lul said

“Accusation and location do not correlate at all,” he protested.

He insisted “That should not be used as a scapegoat we know where our forces are deployed. We know who the commanding officers are. Our forces did not kill anyone what happened was a small engagement between NAS and our armed forces.”

He added “If the church is doubting us, we are ready to launch joint investigation comprising representative from the church and go to the area of the incident,” he concluded.

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