South Sudan: scores killed in disarmament operation
Scores of people have been killed in the South Sudan region of Warrap State following heavy fighting between armed civilians and government forces carrying out a disarmament exercise, the military’s spokesman said on August 11. While initatlly Reuters news agency repored 81 dead, the Eye Radio has later announced 127 casualtes. General Lul Ruai said that also 31 servicemen were also wounded.
On Monday, August 10,local officials said dozens of people were killed in Luanyjang County when armed civilians clashed with government forces.
Lul Ruai Koang said that the two-day clashes erupted over the weekend after some armed youths in the Greater Tonj area started engaging the security forces.
It was not immediately clear what triggered the fight, he said, adding that an investigation has been started.
“Among the dead are 55 members of the security forces and 26 civilians. Another 31 servicemen were also wounded,” Koang said, adding that the death toll could rise.
The military headquarters is urging the educators, legislators, local chiefs and residents of Warrap state to support the disarmament exercise to ensure restoring peace and security.
Last week, the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms suggested that the communities may resist disarmament if the government does not offer them and their cattle enough protection.
The wounded security personnel were flown to the military hospital in the capital Juba for treatment, he said, adding that calm had returned to the area as authorities restored order.
The national government, formed this year after a deal to end a conflict that broke out in 2013, launched a disarmament exercise in Tonj county last month, saying that armed militias in the area were driving inter-communal violence.