Six dead in Konyokonyo gold mine in Gorom
By James Atem Kuir
An attack at a gold mine in Gorom west village on Wednesday killed at least six people and left two others wounded according to the SSPDF spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang.
The gunmen alleged to have been from National Salvation Front [NAS] forces, a rebellion led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo stormed Konyokonyo gold mine located 15 miles to the west of Gorom village at around 5pm on 5th August, killing two SSPDF soldiers, two police personnel and two civilians.
“There was an attack at a gold mine called konyokonyo, located west of Gorom village. On the 5th of August at dawn, armed gunmen believed to be from NAS killed two SSPDF soldiers, two police personnel and two civilians from the same family, that is a woman and a baby and wounded a policeman and another civilian,” Maj. Gen. Lul reported.
Maj. Gen. Lul said security forces who were protecting the mining site repulsed the attackers. He accused NAS of targeting areas rich in minerals such as gold in different parts of Kajokeji and Yei which they use to finance their activities against the government.
“NAS has embarked on targeting areas that are rich in gold reserves and went as far as buying equipment for mining gold and each time they mine it, they smuggle it across the borders and sell it to finance their activities,” Maj. Gen. Lul added.
He further called on the Rome Declaration guarantors to put pressure on NAS leadership to respect the cessation of hostilities agreement earlier this year.
However, a press release by Saber Emmanuel Festus Abdallaziz the National Salvation Front spokesperson yesterday reported that they killed 11 SSPDF soldiers and captured a number of AK47 riffles. The statement also accused SSPDF of using the base to coordinate its operation against NAS. A claim refuted by Maj. Gen. Lul.
Gorom is located in the Southwestern part of Juba city, approximately 30 kilometers (KM) and is accessed by the road from Juba to Luri Road.
The Mine site is located at the ridge between the Kayata and the Luri watersheds in a largely undeveloped part of the country, according to an article by John Leju Celestino Ladu, Andrew L. Athiba, and Paul L. they published in 2019 called “Environmental Impacts of Gold Mining on Communities in Gorom Village, Rejaf County, and Central Equatoria.
The reported highlighted that mining in Gorom has resulted in “disproportionate contamination of major water bodies leading to loss of aquatic organisms, destruction of the biodiversity, removal of vegetation, depletion of soil resources and loss of farmland.
The study further recommends that government revise its policies on licensing mining for better environmental protection against calamities as a result of mining. “It needs sound environmental and socio-economic responsibility,” the statement further added