Labong reiterates commitment to peace implementation

The Governor of Eastern Equatoria state has repeated his government’s commitment to implement the revitalized peace agreement.

Hon Louis Labong Lojore said the government would continue to disseminate the agreement to citizens in remote areas and ensure they participate in the process.

He called the International community to support South Sudan achieve peace through the deal parties signed in 2018

The governor made remarks during three days’ workshop UN Mission in South Sudan organized under the theme “working together and consolidating peace through political engagement and good governance’.’ It aims to create a conducive environment for implementing the revitalized peace agreement.

Labong said the government is using the available resources for the state’s sustainable development.

 “We in eastern Equatoria are so much committed to the implementation of the peace agreement. We are very much to reconciliation using the little resource that we have for sustainable development”. 

Lojore emphasized the need for a strategic plan to mobilize local resources to shun dependency on foreign aids.

“We must plan to liberate ourselves from dependence on foreign aids. Chiefs, we should not wait for help from people every day. I am hearing our people are now used to that when food will come, when UN will bring food, these should stop and let’s produce our food.” 

The Head of the UNMISS field office in Torit, Caroline Waudu, called the political leaders to accept criticism and work for peace, unity, and development. She said the forum UN initiated is hoping to help leaders discuss issues affecting peace implementation.

 “The forum is aimed at creating a very conducive environment for the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, including cooperation among the appointed officials and the peace partners collectively. We need to develop our state, provide security, and deliver services to each citizen in Eastern Equatoria.

“Leaders need to understand one another and respect each other’s ideas even if they belong to a different political party or hold a different opinion. I call on you as leaders to handle criticism constructively in a mature way and work for peace, unity, development of every citizen of Eastern Equatoria”, said Waudu.

The forum brought together traditional chiefs, youth, women leaders, and top government officials at the state, including Commissioners and state Ministers, on Friday 25th June.

Day of African Child commemorates in Kapoeta

Hundreds of residents in Kapoeta town gathered at Freedom Square to commemorate the “Day of African child” with calls to protect children and support their education.

In 1991, the OAU Organisation of African Unity, the current African Union, dedicated 16 June as Day to honors those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976.

The Director-General for Gender, child and social welfare, Mr. Thomas Nawi, encourages partner NGOs to work together for the children’s freedom.

 “I encourage all the partners to put their hands together in such occasion that lead to help people in the entire people in the communities in this country to reflect freedom and human right we are to give a chance to all children in all time to remember freedom children not allow to exercise.”

The Manager of an International NGO known as Root of Generation, Clement Loboi, said their responsibility to create a conducive environment for children would not stop.

“The implementation of the plan 2040 for an Africa fir for children is indeed our effort to make sure we create a conducive environment for our children we know in our daily lives in our homes, in our communities in our school’s children under a lot of challenges our children are not getting access to proper education they are not getting adequate access to health care due to lack of health care facilities.” 

Save the Children’s Child protection officer Joseph Lokulang told the parents to prepare their children for a better future.

“We need to support children, give them maximum support in our community. We need to ensure that their needs are met, and through doing this, we can be able to give children a perfect environment to go.”

The Day of African Child is commemorate annually on 16th June.

Red Cross condemns attack of its workers in Torit

South Sudan Red Cross has condemned the youth attack of office at Torit Eastern Equatoria State. Unidentified mob crowds attack Red Cross on May 31st, assaulting humanitarian workers.  

Six staff and two volunteer members were reportedly assaulted, forcing the branch to suspend its activities over an incident temporarily.  The motive of the attack remains unclear. 

Secretary-General of South Sudan Red Cross John Labor says the attack on humanitarian workers was unacceptable. He announced his office is engaging the community to resolve the matter.  

It is not the first-time humanitarians’ workers suffered attacks in South Sudan. Several incidents related to intimidation and killing of aid workers have been reported in some parts of the country.  

“We call the community leaders and authorities to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers, and property to facilitate Red Cross’s work,” said John. 

The police department confirmed that investigating is underway to hold perpetrators accountable. 

Justine Kelopas Takuru Police spokesperson in Eastern Equatoria state narrated the incident occurred at Omoliha market MTN center; although the victim was beaten, he is safe.  

“Angry youths confiscate vehicle keys from the driver. We are following the law, according to the statement of the investigation,” Kelopas said. 

South Sudan Red Cross has been working in Torit Eastern Equatoria State since 2004 on nutrition, health, water, and sanitation programs.  

Last month, Monye-Miji petitioned the ministry of public service, labor, and human resource development demanding fair employment in the NGOs sector in the counties of greater Torit. 

Kenyan denied the accusation of attacking civilians in Nadapal

Authority of Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria state has accused Kenya forces of undiplomatic harassment of civilians at the border of Nadapal.

Souring undiplomatic tension occurred after Kenyan forces being seen violating regional boundary, attacking South Sudan forces, and raided 47 goats, according to Kapoeta East County Commissioner.

Commissioner of Kapoeta East County Abdullah Angelo Lokeno says Kenya’s force launched a provocative attack after Kenyan authority purported that South Sudanese have stolen their “iron sheet,” making them attacking SSPDF military barrack.

State government investigation confirmed that Kenya Police Reserved was considered as people behind lingering attacks. 

“The problem, our brothers from Kenya, accused our civilians that they are stealing iron sheets yesterday at 2:00 PM according to their information. But from our side of South Sudan, there is nothing like that. They shot at our barrack, opening fire. They get out from their barrack and come up to near our barrack”. 

Border dispute remains a significant factor of conflict at Nadapal between South Sudanese and Kenyan authorities. Kenya forces were alleged of killing civilians and grabbing some land in South Sudan’s territory.

Lokichoggio administrator (ACC), who identified himself as Omono, disputed his forces offensive to South Sudan territory.

He acknowledged the border incident but branded it as a “minor case his officers at the border only tried scared the kids who attempted to steal government property at the border.”

Mr. Omono uses a counter-attack by accusing the South Sudanese military of testing their weapons towards Kenya, but the matter was resolved, and their highway is safe.

“The report I have is that there was an incident of vandalism last night. Some kids came to steal Kenyan government property at the border, and they were scared away by our officers”.

“Another report I have is an incident where the South Sudanese military tested some of their weapons; they shot them facing the Kenyan side and flew right inside Kenya. When we realized that there is that firing towards our side, we contacted the military commander of the other side, and he gave clarification, and we resolved the matter.”

Toposa communities of South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria State and the Turkana in neighboring Kenya were involved in a prolonged conflict caused by cattle raids and disputes over water sources.

Committee formed to investigate Lowareng and camp 15 attacks

The Eastern Equatoria state has formed a committee to investigate the Lowarneg attacks and the camp 15 incidences.

Committee formed comprise of six members led by the state minister of local government in Eastern Equatoria state.

Lowareng, a cantonment site for the SPLM-IO in Kapoeta, was attacked on the 22nd of last month, leaving five deaths.

In a separate incident, 15 people were killed at camp 15 in Loriyok Payam by an unknown group which caused insecurity threats among residents.

People believe counter-attacks emerged due to revenge between the two communities of Katiko and Loriyok.

The press secretary in the governor’s office says the committee has been given seven days ultimate to submit the findings.

Aliandro Lotok explains investigation will help the government in arresting the suspects and held them accountable.

“We have six members, these highly respected men in our state. These are people with experience who will come and investigate these cases because we want to ascertain”.

Lotok said government must work to account the culprits “The government wants to determine what had gone wrong, why things are happening the way they happen. And to prove the damages coursed in these places. These are sad stories that we do not want to hear in this state, he warned”.

Mr. Lotok urged the communities, local leaders, and youth to cooperate with this committee to give information that can lead to the arrest of what he says barbaric act.

Security forces deployed in camp15’s Kopoeta area to restore peace

Eastern Equatoria State’s government has deployed security forces at camp 15 after a convoy for Governor Louise Lobong was ambushed by unknown shooters on Monday 29th.

According to officials, a joint security forces deployed comprised of Tiger division and national security service. The number of armies deployed in that insecurity zone was not made public.

Lobong’s convoy came under heavy attack after he visited Budi County to offer his condolence following the death of 15 people in the separate incident where their houses reportedly burned.

And two of his bodyguards were killed when unidentified armed men opened fire on the governor’s vehicles.

Press secretary in the governor’s office Aliandro Lotok narrated that security personnel deployed at camp15 will stay for some time until the security situation is calm.

“Some of the forces are now already here significantly enough forces. These forces are coming here to restore law and order on the breakdown of law and order at camp15. So this is what they have come for, so they will be here for some days.

So that at least normalcy returned to this area and then people of camp 15 who left this town yesterday had to return to their houses and settle. The town was deserted, but now with the presence of the force of the confidence being built, this is the forces from the tiger division and the national security, yeah,” Lotok explained.

Mr. Lotok said the situation is calm, but the deployed forces will continue patrolling the area for a number of days until the town returns to normal.

Eastern Equatoria’s governor is currently in Camp15 to monitor the situation before return to Torit.

Governor Lobong convoy attacked, left two people dead in camp15

Eastern Equatoria State governor’s office says two people are dead and three others wounded followed an attack on the governor’s convoy on Monday evening. Governor Louis Lobong was in convoy but was not hurt in the attack.

The incident happened at camp 15, about 40 kilometers South West of Kapoeta Town. Mr. Aliandro Lotok is the press secretary for the governor of Eastern Equatoria.

He said their convoy was attacked by local armed youth in 15 camp. He said that they were returning after the governor traveled from Torit to visit Camp 15 on Monday to address the bereaved families of 15 people killed on Sunday night.

Lotok said their way out of the area are blocked and have retreated to a military barrack, and the situation remain tense.
He said the incident did not shake governor Louis Lobong, and he is in good spirit as a military man. He explains that the two people who lost their lives include a wife of a soldier and one military personnel but provide no details if there are casualties on the attackers’ side.

Mr. Lotok said the fighting between soldiers and armed youth lasted 2 hours before they retreated to a military barrack.

Camp 15 is at Loriyok Payam in Budi County of Eastern Equatoria State.

Fifteen people killed in Budi attack

Over 15 people died, seven others were wounded, and houses burned in the Budi County attack on civilians. Casualties include women and children. The government condemned the killing of innocent people described as “criminality.”

The attack occurred on Sunday at Camp 15 in loriyok Payam, and the wounded person transfer to Chukudum hospital for treatment this morning.

Eastern Equatoria State Governor’s office said the attackers are well-armed, and their motives remain unclear but could not unidentified. 

Aliandro Lotok is a Press secretary of the Eastern Equatoria Governor. He stated that governor Luise Lobong visited the area where the incident occurred.

“We are here with the governor at camp15 and the governor has come here to pay condolence to the people who lost their loved ones at the attack that took place on the 28th of this month. So far, seventeen people have brutal this vicious attack and the governor condemns it in the strongest terms possible this attack on camp15”, He said.

The state governor directs the organs forces to search for the perpetrators.

Last week, gunmen attacked an SPLA-IO cantonment site in Kapoeta County, killing its commander and four others.

Refugees from Kakuma doubt peace in South Sudan

South Sudanese refugees in the Kakuma camp were shocked and panic with the Kenya government’s announcement to close the base giving only two weeks for the UN to implement the plan.

The UN refugee agency issued a statement this week confirmed the notification over the planned closure of Kakuma, Kalobeyei, and Dadaab refugee camps. The closure of the camps came due to fear of national security threats, the Kenya government stated.

The refugees expressed mixed reactions. Some doubted that South Sudan’s government did not fully implement the revitalized agreement to give hope for their returns.

Others urge the Kenyan government to reverse the decision-cited situation in their home’s countries not safe for repatriation.

Singaita FM in Kapoeta spokes to the camp chairperson, Sabina Achola, who said refugees have the right to seek safety

“It depends on the country’s situation. If the situation of our country becomes okay, then UNHCR will do that repatriation. Still, the situation South Sudan is in now, South Sudanese they will not be given repatriation because the country is not yet well”.

Another South Sudanese refugee is Emilio Moi, described the news as “abrupt closure and shock.”

He said South Sudanese want to hear free movement with total silencing of guns and economic stability. 

People were happy to come back to South Sudan but not completely happy because situation not okay in our country. We want the government to provide education for our children. We need to realize that the government is implementing peace to gives us hopes of returning.” 

South Sudan peace deal signed in 2018 detailed the needs for reconstruction and repatriation of refugees includes internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Five SPLA-IO soldiers killed; cantonment deserted in Eastern Equatoria

Sudan People Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) has reported that five of its soldiers were killed, houses burnt in Lowareng cantonment area on Monday.

Attackers described as “Unknown gunmen” who open fire on soldiers with motive remain unclear.

SPLA-IO deputy Military Spokesperson, who is also the Press Secretary for the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Col: Lam Paul Gabriel, said among those killed include Brigadier general and one woman.

He said attackers have not yet identified, but a committee from Joint Defense Board (JDB) will travel to the Cantonment site to investigate, and perpetrators will be accountable.

“Yesterday in the morning hours, we received a phone call from Kapoeta, and we got the information that the cantonment site of Lowareng was attacked. We lost about five soldiers include a woman and the commander of the Lowareng cantonment site”, Col: Lam said.

The military official claimed that delay in the graduation of the unified forces should not be used to attack a base of the forces to the peace agreement.

Lam said parties are making progress in reorganizing the forces for necessary graduation.

“The committee was given seven days to complete their task, which is going to do with the formation of all the reunification of the highest command,” Lam said.

Kapoeta South County Commissioner Angelo Lominit said his administration visited the scenes to get precise information. 

“We went to the ground at 2:00 pm, we got five people, including one woman dead. We got two houses burnt totally without anything. And the barrack deserted, nobody, even one person no! the criminals went no one arrested”

The Commissioner said this incident happened for the first time since SPLA.IO cantonment areas were established in Eastern Equatoria as part of a security arrangement according to the peace deal.

Several reports indicated the necessary unification forces deserting training camps due to the delay of their graduation. The Peace Monitors described the condition soldiers undergone as “unbearable” due to lack of food, shelters, and medicines.