TORIT – A senior officer of South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) has on Thursday night been shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the country’s Easter Equatoria state capital Torit, according to senior state security officials quoted by Radio Tamazuj in a report.
Justine Kleopus Takuru, the Torit police spokesman said the national security officer who is identified in the report as 2nd Lt. Peter Odee Solomon was killed at 10:00 PM just outside the police commissioner’s home near a local hotel there.
“One of the commanders from the national security is shot. People went, the security also went and confirmed the incident. We found it was our colleague 2nd Lt Peter Odee Solomon, he is a commander at national security here in Torit, 41 years old from Lotuko tribe. He was shot and he was found down but was carried to the hospital unfortunately he died,” Kleopus said.
The police officer explained that the deceased was heading home with his wife when they boarded a motorcycle, but along the way, he realized that they were being followed, so he ordered the bodaboda rider to change direction. But unfortunately, the criminals followed and caught up with them immediately shooting at him.
“Those men just stopped and immediately shot the officer on the head; they fell from the bike and when this woman started crying, they slapped the woman and forced her to run. They also beat the rider and forced him to run till he was a bit far, he watched the assailants flash the late with a torch and then they went through the Inkas road,” he added.
Kleopus noted that the security apparatus in the state have launched a search for the criminals and will ensure they face justice.
“We will secure the town. This killing is like a targeted killing by the people following him. Citizens should not fear we are working and security is everyone’s concern in case someone has any information, let us know,” he stressed.
The press secretary in the office of Eastern Equatoria State governor Mr. Oringa John Godfrey described the incident as unfortunate and a great loss to not only the people of Eastern Equatoria but also the security services.
“It is great dismay to lose this young, energetic, strong officer who was deliberately working to help the state to go forward. He is not just an ordinary officer but was the head of the protective unit in the defunct Torit State under the leadership of Tobiolo Alberio Oromo previously he was the head of the protective unit in the governor’s protection. We need to condemn this in the strongest terms possible,” he stated.
John said the state government is working hard to restore peace in the state and called on all citizens to support the efforts. He emphasized that the perpetrators must face justice.
“We were sitting with him yesterday (Thursday) at Labalwa Hotel but I went out. On my return, the late Odee told me time has gone he wants to go it was going almost to 10:00 pm. I said okay, he climbed the motorbike and left. But it didn’t take time before the wife called on the phone that Odee is shot. It is as if these people were observing us when we were sitting because all of us were six officers sitting in one place, this is very delicate,” the late’s colleague who preferred anonymity told Radio Tamazuj.
The Executive Director for the Eastern Vision on Rehabilitation and Development Agency or EVRDA, a civil society organization in the state Oryema Emmanuel says citizens now feel unsafe in the town.
“That means the civilians inside Torit are not secured because if an officer, a national security officer is shot within the town that means we are not safe. I urge the leadership of the state especially the security organs to make sure that they have to launch investigations and the perpetrators must be brought to book,” Emmanuel said. “Number two, the delay in the formation of state governments is the one causing this because by this time we could be having a full unified force that will protect the people and their properties.”