SUDAN WATCH: S. Sudan: SPLA accuses Sudanese army of involvement in Akobo, Jonglei clashes

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

S. Sudan: SPLA accuses Sudanese army of involvement in Akobo, Jonglei clashes

The Commissioner of Akobo County, Goi Jooyul Yol, told Miraya FM that the recent death toll from the clash in Akobo, Jonglei State, southern Sudan has risen to 185 including twelve soldiers. 

Jooyul said that bodies are being retrieved from the river for burial, adding that most of the dead are women and children. Further details here below.  

Repeat.  The clashes claimed the lives of more than 180 people, mostly women and children.  

This terrible story does not make sense.  Sudanese men killing defenceless Sudanese women and children?  Why?  Surely, there is more to this story than meets the eye.    

A Murle gunman in South Sudan

Photo: A Murle gunman moves with his rifle in a village. (Photo Source: Bor Globe/Sudan Tribune)

From Sudan Radio Service, Tuesday 04 August 2009:
SPLA Accuses SAF of Involvement in Akobo Clashes
(Juba) – The SPLA has accused SAF of being behind the fighting on Monday which left more than 180 people dead after clashes in Akobo county, Jonglei state, between Lou Nuer and Murle communities.

SPLA spokesman Major General Kuol Diem Kuol spoke to Sudan Radio Service from Juba on Tuesday.

[Kuol Diem Kuol]: “Before the civil war, the Jonglei area was well-known for cattle rustling incidents. The situation escalated when the Sudanese army armed the people in these areas with automatic weapons, including Kalashnikovs, RPGs and Doshkas. There are clear indications that SAF is behind all the problems in southern Sudan. We have information that helicopters belonging to SAF fly over Murle areas, and that some injured Murle people are being taken to hospital in El-Obeid. The National Congress Party is arming both communities. Riak Gai is arming the Lou Nuer and other elements are arming the Murle.”

SAF has dismissed the SPLA accusations.

SAF spokesman Lieutenant-colonel Abdul Sameei Haj Ahmed described the allegations by SPLA as “baseless” and “nonsense.”

[Abdul Sameei Haj Ahmed]: “These are incorrect and baseless accusations and the situation doesn’t exist on the ground. How can SAF arm militias in southern Sudan to create conflict? They always accuse SAF whenever they have problems in the south. I don’t know why they accuse us. Our army has nothing to do with what is happening in the south, this is nonsense.”

Lieutenant-colonel Abdul Sameei Haj Ahmed was speaking to Sudan Radio Service from Khartoum.
From Miraya FM Tuesday, 04 August 2009
Calm presides over Akobo following tribal clashes
Calmness returned to River Geni area in Akobo County in Jonglei state, following tribal clashes on Sunday between the Murle and Lou Nuer. The clashes claimed the lives of more than 180 people, mostly women and children. The Deputy Governor of Jonglei State, Hussein Mar Nyot, told Miraya FM the region is totally calm now after sending military forces to the area.

Mar Nyot said the humanitarian and health situations are extremely poor which calls for immediate assistance.

The Commissioner of Akobo County, Goi Jooyul Yol, told Miraya FM that the recent death toll from the clash has risen to 185 including twelve soldiers.

Jooyul said that bodies are being retrieved from the river for burial, adding that most of the dead are women and children.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the government is expected to visit Akobo County today, to inspect the security and humanitarian situation on the ground.

In the same context, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, expressed his sorrow over the magnitude of the developments in Akobo.

Moon expressed his condolences to the Government of South Sudan and the families of the victims.
He also directed the UN Mission in Sudan, UNMIS, to extend all possible assistance to those affected by this heinous act and work with local authorities to restore calm.

Ban Ki Moon further urged the local authorities in south Sudan to bring to justice all those responsible for these events.
Some of the many comments at Sudan Tribune article [by Philip Thon Aleu, 04 August 2009 - Bloody day in Sudan’s Jonglei, U.N. chief condemns violence] suggest that the attack in Akobo, Jonglei State was engineered.  

Note the following report from GoSS USA website dated last April and the text I have highlighted in red:

Jonglei clashes stakeholders commit to peace
THURSDAY, 30 APRIL 2009
Source: Miraya FM
The leaders of the warring tribes in Jonglei State have pledged to end the fighting and refrain from violence.

This came following mediation efforts led by a joint fact-finding committee from the State government and the United Nations Mission in Sudan.

Speaking to Miraya FM, the Governor of the Jonglei State, Kuol Manyang, said the fact-finding committee managed to convince the leaders of the Lou-Nuer and Murle tribes to stop fighting each other.

In return, the State government said it will implement a disarmament plan in their areas and provide them with basic services.

The Governor described the visit to the affected areas as successful.

Meanwhile, Governor Manyang hinted that parties from outside the region may have stood behind the tribal clashes which claimed the lives of hundreds of people in the last few weeks.

Governor Manyang said he cannot name these parties adding that all indicators show they are instigating the fighting by smuggling arms into the area.

He further called on the Government of South Sudan to investigate the matter.
Click on Jonglei label here below for related reports and latest updates.

Also, note Sudan Watch, January 14, 2009: Ugandan LRA are agents of forces who are against South Sudan's peace agreement

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