Governor warns prisons for unlawfully releasing inmates in Yirol

The governor of Lakes State has warned the Prison Services unit for letting prisoners free without a due process. Governor Makur Kulang angrily spoke after receiving a report of two released inmates who were mysteriously murdered  in Yirol town.

Governor Makur threatened to punish prison wardens over the illegal release without proper court orders. He further cautioned that some of the released criminals were found guilty of crimes involving loss of lives making them dangerous to the community. Their illegal releases may turn as a “blame of the government.”

The state governor also revealed that one escaped prisoner was found dead in Yirol town. The assailant was not identified. It further said the deceased had got involved in a fight that left four people dead and two other wounded at Nyang Payam of Yirol East County last week.

The local prisons authority promised to investigate the reason behind the increased illegal bailouts before inmates’ prison terms expired.

“I don’t want you to release the suspects with a murder case. It must stop! If the prisons release the people with major crimes, that is not lawful. We want to bring an end to the communal violence in Lakes State through the law.”

The prison director of prisons, Elijah Biar, admitted that some inmates easily escaped due to inadequate detention facilities. He claimed that the inmates also bribed their way out. The director said his administration would take disciplinary measures against officers on duty during the escape of prisoners and assured the citizens of a speedy solution to this menace.

“We are not going to allow any bailout at all because we have seen challenges now. Then the people with the major crime cases will go to Rumbek or other States with good facilities. Our prison is impoverished, and that is the reason some inmates do run-away,” Biar said.

Young girl rape by multiple men survive in Yirol.

A 14 years girl raped at Yali village on Tuesday 22nd, has been admitted in Yirol hospital due to severe physical and internal injuries. The medical doctor reported that the victim was sexually assaulted by four men while returning home after fetching water nearby community borehole 7 pm at

Yali village, outskirts of Yirol East County. Authority believed perpetrators who were involved in sexual assaults of the teenager were allegedly under alcohol influence.

The medical doctor who was treating the victim assured the public that a teenager had been rescued with blood transfusion, and her conditions are improving”.

County Health Director Michel Makuei Ijoung confirmed that rape survival is getting stable compared to two days back. The rape victim has lost more blood as a resulted after too much bleeding.

“In fact, from the very beginning is severe, she came with very severe bleeding and till she was donated blood when she runs out blood. So she was donated blood, and up to now, she ok. She no longer bleeding like before. She got rap at some distance with where she was living. Now she needs no referral because she ok.”

Acting Police Inspector Andrew Maguar Deng said two suspects accused of raping the young had been arrested, and two others were still running.

Police explained they would keep the two suspects in custody before they are taken to court after a thorough investigation.

“Yes, the police are following up those people, they escape one person is gone to settle village near here, and another is not heard of where he is about. Rap happened last year, and this is another surprise, one girl with four men, so we will deal with them after we detain all of them.”

Police stated that rape is one of the major crime is punishable by the laws. He appeals to young people to cease from committing rape in the Country.

In June this year, an older woman was rushed to the reproductive clinic in Mingkaman after a young man sexually assaulted her at night. And she was treated with similar severe injuries.

Commodity prices hiked in Kapoeta, vulnerable groups affected

Residents of Kapoeta town said the price increase of commodities in the local market has badly affected the vulnerable groups in the area. Families were going hungry for days due to the high prices of food in the market.
The residents said the skyrocketing prices have made it difficult to sustain their families.
“We can not afford a meal. The situation has worsened this month after the increase in the US dollars exchange rate against the local currency,’ said one resident.
Some of the affected families who spoke to Singaita FM how hard life has become with the market’s daily price increase.
A family at Hai Atalabra residential area explained how they spent two days without eating. Rose Imiyang, a mother of five, said she was struggling to feed her children.
“Things are high in the market, you go to the shop and find prices are high, this is making my life difficult and can’t buy food for my children. There is nothing, you can’t buy enough food”. Imiyang said.
A widow at Malakia who lost her husband during the civil war echoed the same, saying she was finding it difficult to feed her children.
The information officer in the office of chambers of commerce, Mr. Abraham Duot, said that he was aware of the market situation. He said that his team was following up with traders in the market to address and find a solution to the issue.
“We plan to meet with traders to find out the cause of the increase of prices in the market and find ways of controlling.”
He urged the public to be patient as his office look into finding a way forward with the traders.

Christians fear the risk of contracting COVID-19 as churches reopens

Worshippers turn out in large number on Sunday to attend their first church services in Aweil town despite expressing concerns over the risk of contracting the deadly COVID-19 due to the lack of social distancing in the among the worshippers.

The people in Aweil attended the Sunday church services for the first since the government decree that shutdown all the places of worship back in March 2020.

St. George Cathedral  in Aweil town was one of the churches  thronged by faithfuls for prayers.  Noticeably some of the congregations had no face-masks and did not keep social distancing.

Some believers we spoke to urged the Council of Churches to provide hand washing containers and create one meter spacing for people as a social distance measurein the church.

Yes we have big prayers at the church today and some of the believers are wearing face mask and others not because there are no enough for everyone. So we are calling on the churches to provide face-mask to the believers. We need at least prayers should be divided at the church to have social distance and provide other preventive measure against coronavirus.”

The Church leaders promised to avail the items that could help reduce the risk. Bishop Abraham Wol Tong said the council of churches would divide the prayers into a smaller sessions to help reduce congestions.

“We will comply with requests of our community because church is a place where community gather for worship and will work hard with our partners to reduce the health risk of COVID 19.”

Bishop Abraham added that people are always afraid to come to places where their health would not be protected. He promised that the church will work hard to supply the hand washing containers and sanitizers to parishes in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.

Fall armyworm destroy nearly fifty farms in Warrap

Crops pest known as “fall army-worm” has smashed forty-nine small scale farms at Ajak Kuac Payam, in Warrap State

Local farmers reported that their farms were simultaneously destroyed by the fall-army-worm.

Some of the farmers complaints that the insects has invaded their crops. Adding that they would not  have good harvest this year because the pests have eaten crops which they planted”.

“It changes the color of the crops to blackish like the wild grains and loses the grain. It also pierces the leaves of the sorghum and maize and ends up losing them. We thought these farms were going to help the producers and those who don’t have, but now we are back to square one where no one will help the other” Public concerned.

Officials from the ministry of agriculture in Warrap State said they have been informed and had dispatched a team to visit the areas and to assess the damage.

Peter Madut Amet is the director of agriculture. He explained that the monitoring system team is expected to see the level of destruction and promised to support the farmers after the outcome the assessment.

“We will support some of them with the fishing tools, and others will tool for growing the vegetables, and we have sent out the assessment team. It will collect the data, and these data will be sent to Juba for action on the destruction,” Madut said.

Last month, many villages in Warrap State  flooded, displacing people from their and farms destroyed in Tonj East County.

The UN supports reopening of schools despite rising COVID-19 cases

UN children agency UNICEF and UNESCO have welcomed the government decision to reopen schools in South Sudan

The reopening is expected to happen in phases 1 and 2 were the candidate classes, Primary 8 and Senior 4, and will start the first week of October 2020, according to the statement the UN agencies released. Phase 2 includes all schools and grades and will coincide with the start of the academic year in February 2021.

The government passed a resolution during the council of Minister last week. The schools have been closed since March this year due to COVID-19.

The UN children agency said 2 million children keep out of school. This comes on top of the 2.2 million children out of school before the pandemic hit South Sudan.

UNICEF and UNESCO stated that Scientific evidence shows children are not super-spreaders of COVID-19 and are the least affected by it in the region, with a mere 2.5 percent of COVID-19 cases among children of school-going age (5-18 years, WHO). “At the same time, we have seen growing evidence of the negative impact closed classrooms have had on children, including abuse, exploitation, child marriage, and early pregnancies”. Both organizations also said children are safer inside the school walls than outside.

“This is a great day for children in South Sudan who can soon resume their learning and continue planning for their future,” said Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UNICEF South Sudan Representative. “The last seven months have been a huge blow for learning but also for protecting children from abuse and exploitation; therefore, we are really pleased with the Government’s decision to reopen schools.”

The UN agencies unveil a plan to work with the Ministry of General Education and Instruction for a safe reopening of schools. The plan includes improved water provision to schools, repair of water infrastructure, soap distribution, hand washing stations, and sanitary kits.

According to the statement, students and the teachers will get free washable face masks and social mobilization will be increased to raise awareness on the reopening of schools and encouraging parents to send their children to school.

UNESCO Representative in South Sudan Mr. Julius Banda said in the statement that the longer children stay out of school, the harder it is to get them back to the classrooms. “We don’t have a school day to lose, the children have already lost so many understand that parents might be nervous, but I urge all caregivers to trust that their children are safer at school. I know you want what is best for your children, and right now that is sending them back to schoo/,”Banda said.

The education reopening plan expects to cost 16.4 million US dollars. The UN said only USD 7 million is available through the Global Partnership for Education.

UNICEF and UNESCO are urging donors and partners to step forward to support the reopening of schools in South Sudan.

South Sudan confirmed 2,660 case, includes 1,438 recovered and 49 death since April this year.

Bakers to maintain the size and price of bread in Aweil

Bakers in Aweil have ended their strike in protest to the government proposal to maintain the price and the size of bread in the market. The governement has agreed to supply the local bakery with wheat floor in subsidised price of 19,000 SSP per 50kg bag instead of the hiked market price of 24,000 SSP per bag.  

The bakery operators were protesting the governement decision to impose the old price of bread  in the market. The bakers had earlier hiked the bread price and reduced its the size. A planned meeting between the bakers and the authority to reach a consensus on thursday failed to bear fruits, prompting the bakers to close bakeries in Aweil. They had hoped for the government to maintain  the old wheat floor price.

Community has welcomed the resolution over the impasse between the bakers and government. Some community members had complained about the inadequate bread in Aweil town after the closure of bakeries.

The traders promised to maintain the bread size and price of 20 SSP per piece. They said the order would have affected their business amid the severe economic crisis in the country.

 Mr. Atak Madut, a bakery owner, said they have agreed with government to purchase wheat floor at the lower prices which has made them re-open their businesses.

“The reason some of us stopped operating is that we buy wheat flour expensively. Now the Government ordered us to maintain the size and price of bread. Still, today we are all happy because the Government has purchased wheat and to sell it to us at 19,000 SSP, but before we could buy it at the Market price at 24,000 SSP. We will accept the orders now because we can make profits,” Madut said.

Dominic Kang Deng is the secretary-general in NBG state. He said the initiative aims at supporting citizens to buy food items cheaply.

“The Government wants to help citizens by buying wheat flour with a high price of 24,000 SSP and sell cheaply in the market with a price of 19,000 pounds per sack”.

The government said it had secured 300 sacks to be sold to the bakery’s owners and will ensure to purchase more from neighboring countries to make a long term initiative.

The commodities price reduction was also endorsed by the Government of Northern Bhar El Ghazal. All bakers were ordered to “maintain affordable prices and sizes of loaf bread” as part of government regulatory policy

Two SSPDF soldiers arrested for carjacking an ambulance in Awerial

The Police in Awerial County has arrested two soldiers from South Sudan People Defense Forces (SSPDF) for stealing a hospital ambulance in Awarial Center.

Police said the suspects stole the ambulance after the driver left its engine running while buying water at a nearby shop. An eyewitness said that the suspects jumped into the vehicle and drove away at high speed and later involved in an accident. However, there was no fatality though the car was damaged.

The motive behind the vehicle theft is still unclear.

Marial Akuok, the deputy Police Inspector in Bunagok, said the two soldiers are under detention under their Zonal Command for further investigation. 

“These soldiers belong to division six-under Jima Rian, and the base commander is Majak Kondok, and Zachariah Maluk is here also. They are responsible for the forces, so they are now arrested under their division,” Akuok said.

The county health director, Abraham Majok, said the damages to the ambulance would put pregnant women’s lives at risk. He said that the ambulance was for transporting pregnant women with severe complications at delivery to the nearest health center for an emergency. 

“When the car overturned, it got damaged on both sides. The side mirrors, tires, and other parts all got damaged. The front windscreen got smashed too,” Majok stated.

The ambulance was donated by Japan’s government through a partnership with UNFPA to support emergency obstetric care service in 2014.


Police detain a man over land dispute in Warrap State

Police in Wunrok (Warrap State) said they have detained a 30-year-old man in connection to a land dispute that left one person injured.

The suspect was believed to have shot his neighbor after the two quarreled over a piece of land in which the police were called in to intervene.

The incident happened on Tuesday in Gorayak village at Wunrok Payam.

Head of police in Twic County Lieutenant Colonel Machel Deng Atem said the police were dispatched to the scene to intervene where they made the arrest.

Meanwhile Twic County Police boss Michael Atem confirmed that the relatives of the victim reportedly carried out a revenge attack where the suspect’s properties were burnt and livestock looted.

The Police boss appealed to the public to stop violence and resolve grievances peacefully. 

“This case is for two people to justify who is wrong and who is right. And if you come and burn the house or attack, then it is a criminal case according to the law.  It is not allowed by the South Sudan Penal Law. It is called a conspiracy, a situation when you interfere in someone’s criminal case,” explained Michael Atem.

The police have ordered the arrest of those involved in the looting and destruction of the victim’s property. 

The community leader of the Pan Ajuet section, Rehan Cyier Rehan popularly known as Rehan Pinychilieu urged the relatives from both sides to stop incitement, saying the government is handling the matter. He warned of consequences by the law should anyone get involved.

The South Sudan Land act of 2009, section 2, says that every person shall have access to land for housing, cultivation, grazing, or fishing as shared resources and shall be regulated by this law.

Court in Aweil slaps an SSPDF soldier with a death sentence for killing 17 year-old girl

A high court in Aweil (Northern Bahr el Ghazal) has sentenced Jacob Kuol Buong, aged 28, for the murder of a 17-year old girl.

In a closed door court hearing held in Aweil Central Prison Service premises, the suspect was found guilty of killing the teenager for allegedly refusing to marry him.

The presiding judge, Justice Abraham Majut, before pronouncing the verdict, highlighted the police investigations and the previous court proceeding to examine the evidence presented earlier to the court at a  closed-door session.

He explained how the court decides to convict the suspect for murdering a young girl at the Hai Salam area in Aweil town on 6, July this year.

Mr. Jacob Kuol Buong, an active SSPDF soldier from Tiger Division in Juba, allegedly traveled to Aweil with an intension to harm the deceased, Adut Deng Tong.

“He shot and killed the deceased for allegedly refusing to marry him just two days after he arrived in Aweil from Juba,” said the judge. Two other girls were wounded during the incident.

The judge told Mr. Jacob who was in handcaffs and chain around his legs that he had the right to appeal against court decision within 15 days.

The defend lawyer Garang Akok Mading welcomed the court decision to sentense the accused to death.

“Finally, today, this young man will face justice for what he did in July”, said Garang Akok.

He added that this was meant to be as per the 2008 South Sudan Constitution in article 206 that says, “Any person who kills another one the way this man did should be sentenced to death.”

The head of also legal administration in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State,  Deng Majak Deng, praised the court for being fair.

“I think the way this court was done was good because it can make other young people understand that it is not good to kill but to follow any legal procedures instead of killing a small girl because of 200,000 SSP, so I agree with the death sentence”, said Deng Majak.

However, Jacob Kuol’s defend lawyer, William Kuol Maduok, disagreed with the court decision accusing it for ignoring other important underlying factors that forced his client to act.

“Yes, the court decree was issued on 14 September 2020, but we party of the defend of Jacob Kuol Buong have fifteen days to appeal the decision, and we will go to Wau, Bahr El Ghazal Court of Appeals to open the case against the decision made by the high court in Aweil.” Said, William Kuol Maduok.

Jacob claimed that there were some issues raised by the young man that forced him to act which will be presented to the Court of Appeal in Wau.