Sudan Radio Service's producer visited Malakal market, Upper Nile, southern Sudan
Report by SRS - Sudan Radio Service, 21 December 2009:
(Malakal) – In Malakal, Upper Nile state, residents have mixed views about the security situation, some saying that the situation is calm, while others are living in fear.- - -
Our producer, Hussein Halfawi, visited Malakal market on Thursday and spoke to residents. He sent this report.
[Halfawi]: “Malakal, in Upper Nile state appears to be enjoying a special and unique festive atmosphere, despite the insecurity and bloody tribal clashes that the area had experienced during the past four years. The city is calm and the security is pretty normal, as you can hear in the background, people are busy in the market, restaurants and shops are working normally, and you can hear different types of music playing in the shops. Life is so normal here so far, people here greet each other everywhere as if they are one family, despite the political conflicts, the lack of development and the tribal clashes that erupt from time to time which could badly affect this beautiful city. Let us now hear how the people feel here in the market.”
[Female 1]: “Really the security situation is very difficult in the area, we are close to Christmas now and everyone is scared that a problem can suddenly occur and they will start running. Women here are ready and willing to celebrate Christmas in peace and stability, but still there is fear inside them because the security situation is bad due to the increase in the tribal clashes. We don’t know what the solution will be. The state government itself is the one contributing to the deterioration of security."
[Male 1]: “While I’m talking to you now, I feel scared. If I hear a car tire burst I will just run without asking what has happened. This is the situation, everyone is careful. Here in the market, we are the most scared people, now I have learnt how to shut down my shop in less than a minute and run.”
However some people think that the security situation will be calm, following the appointment of the new governor.
[Male 2]: “Actually currently there are a lot of changes in Malakal, unlike before. As far as security is concerned, we are actually stable, the way I see the security level for the time being, it seems to me the security is improving and we are expecting more improvement."
[Male 3]: “Generally, there is no fear, people are just scared for nothing, there is nothing happening inside the state. When they changed the governor, people thought there would be chaos and that the new governor will face difficulties, but we thank God there is no problem and it went peacefully."
Those were the views of Malakal residents on the security situation in the area.
Early this month, there was tension in the state when the former governor, Galuak Deng Garang, refused to hand over his position to the newly-appointed governor, William Othwonh.