JUBA – South Sudan’s outspoken activist Edmund Yakani has warned that the country is witnessing rise in violence against civilians and called on the transitional government of national unity in Juba to launch investigation against rebel leaders Gen. Johnson Olony Thabo and Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual for crimes against humanity.
Gatwech and Olony have been fighting, since earlier this year, over control of the SPLA-IO Kitgwang faction. The fighting has resulted in the displacement of thousands of civilians in northern Upper Nile and some parts of Jonglei.
Heavily armed youth also known as ‘White Army’ from Jonglei state have also been on rampage in northern Upper Nile state attacking villagers – since July this year – in Panyikang and Fashoda counties of the Shilluk Kingdom.
President Kiir’s office last week announced that military forces are being deployed to Upper Nile state to protect civilians, but local officials in both Upper Nile and Jonglei are saying that Agwelek forces are crossing the Nile to attack civilians in Jonglei.
Yesterday, the commissioner of Fangak County said that they have received credible information that Agwelek forces have left heading to Pigi and Fangak Counties and alleged that politicians in Juba are sponsoring the possible violence.
In a statement extended to Sudans Post this morning, Yakani who is the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said that it is witnessing rise in violence in Upper Nile and that General Gatwech, Olony and the others involved should be investigated for crimes against humanity.
“CEPO is witnessing rise of preparations for violence against civil population. The fighting militia forces in some parts of Upper Nile state should be investigated for crimes against humanity. What they are doing in silence and less media reporting is total gross human rights violations,” Yakani said in the statement.
“The presidency should act immediately to recuse the lives of the innocent civilians facing the deadly and inhuman armed violence of the fighting militias forces of Kitgwang group and Agwelek through proxy support,” he added.
The prominent activist further said that he wants those involved in violence to be exposed and investigated for crimes against humanity as well and further accused the country’s leaders of being silent as civilians suffer.
“The actors behind the proxy war support should be identified and named and subject for investigation too. Armed deadly violence among the communities of Upper Nile state is on raise in the eye of the leadership of the country,” he said.
“The civilian population in some parts of Upper Nile state are feeling subjected to crimes such as use of starvation, access to healthcare and protection being used as weapons of war by the fighting forces of Kitgwang group and Agwelek forces through their aid proxy war. These new crimes besides the other gross human rights violations are enough against the civilian population of some parts of upper Nile state,” Yakani stressed.