JUBA – South Sudan’s central government is unable to prevent the escalation of inter-communal and ethnic violence in the country, a prominent activist says Sunday after renewed inter-communal violence in Warrap state killed approximately 65 people including a former county commissioner.
This comes after senior Warrap state government officials told Sudans Post this morning that fighting broke out in Tonj North on Saturday when a group of local armed men attacked rival armed you resulting in the killing of at least 65 people including former Apuk County Commissioner.
Also, armed youth suspected to have come from neighboring Jonglei state attacked and killed at least 9 villagers in Central Equatoria state in an attack state authorities in Juba said was un provoked.
In a statement extended this afternoon, Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), said the increase and escalation of ethnic violence in the country is the result of government weakness against prevention of these conflicts.
“The recent sharp increase in inter-communal violence across the country clearly demonstrates that the government is weak in preventing communities in committing gross human rights abuses across the country,” the CEPO statement reads in part.
The statement said government failure in providing permanent solutions to the grievances of the communities is forcing locals into creating armed defense which the statement said is growing very faster across the country.
“On-going deadly communal violence in the states without effective role of the government in providing sustainable and long term solutions is making the communities building armed defense forces so faster across the country,” the statement said.
“Community Empowerment for Progress Organization strongly condemned all the recently deadly inter-communal violence in Ngangala (Armed pastoralists from Jonglei committed human rights abuse against the host community of Lokoya in Central Equatoria); Abyei administrative (Twic Dinka verse Ngok Dinka clashes); Toposa-Murle violence; Lou Nuer (Cie-Ruot clan fought with Cie-Luony clan violence); Tonj North County-Rualbet town violence, Uror county violence including others are claiming lives and properties of innocent people in tens. The government needs to wake up now and try to impose rule of law and prevention of communities from committing gross human rights abuses,” the statement said.
Yakani called for immediate intervention of the country’s lawmakers in order to bring the matter to an end once and for all.
“The South Sudan lawmakers from both upper and lower houses need to raise up now and really take responsibility of pressuring the executive leaders of the government to timely prevent occurrence of deadly inter-communal violence,” Yakani said.
“The reality is slowly the country is breaking down into community defense forces build up which is risk and threat to matters of individual and community safety and security. Indicators of some built up community defense forces or so-called armed youth are undermining the regular government forces in providing rule of law and prevention of human rights abuses is real and this made some communities to build their community defense forces too,” the activist added.
He said “Without effective participation of government institutions in the prevention of the rising deadly communal violence the chance of the country breaking into formation of community defense forces is higher.”
“Time has come for the national government to take step on prevention of deadly inter-communal violence among the various communities across the country. The growth of armed youth groups as community defense forces is taking too faster. Before it is too later for the government, it is essential to urgent involve in preventing buildup of community defense forces in the name armed youth. The armed youth groups in the rural society of South Sudan are getting more powerful than the government. This is a threat for fostering rule of law and protection of human rights in the communities.”