South Sudan: Joint Community Meeting in Wau Hosted By Lakes and WBEG Governors

Rumbek — Thousands of South Sudanese from Lakes State attended a meeting in Wau, the capital of troubled Western Bahr el Ghazal on Wednesday to hear to Governors of both states urge people to remain clam and not seek retaliation after migrant workers from Lakes were killed earlier this month.

Speaking at Wau Peace Hall, Governor Chol Tong Mayay urge citizens Lakes State to protect their image by not involving themselves in the recent violence with he said was conducted by enemies of peace.

There have been protests in Wau after reports that 26 Dinka civilians were killed by members of the Balanda ethnic group in Parajallah, 48 miles south west of Wau. Parajallah is a locality in Bagari - the area where the new headquarters is Wau County is being transferred despite resistance and protests from local people.

Governor Mayay, who has been in Wau since last week, has been urging the people of Lakes State, which is predominantly inhabited by the Dinka ethnic group, not to become involved in the Wau violence.

According to the United Nations nine people were killed when protestors clashed with police in Wau town on 8 and 9 December. Several people sustained gunshot wounds and were admitted to Wau hospital.

Ten days after the initial violent protests a further 12 people are reported to have died in a second protest on Tuesday 18 December with more people wounded. South Sudan's deputy interior minister, Salva Mathok Gengdit, however, said that only seven people died and 32 were wounded in the second Wau incident.

Rizik Zechariah Hassan, the governor of Western Bahr El Ghazal state, expressed his happiness that the people of Lakes State were not involved in recent demonstrations and violence, describing them as ambassadors of peace.

"Thank you people of Lakes State for great support you offer me during dark days of demonstration in Wau. You never joined those enemy of peace. Your protection had serve the situation and I will be always stood with you" said Rizik.

During the meeting, Lakes State community leaders raise several concerns over their land being confiscated by Western Bahr El Ghazal citizens. They also complained that the Lakes State school administration compound in Wau had been seized by state government and given to army without permission. They also alleged that the Lakes State coordination office and residence of the Lakes State government in Wau had been confiscated.

Governor Rizik declined to comment over the matter raise by Lakes State community during the meeting.

However, Governor Chol asked his counterpart to handle the case with great care and attention. He explained that Wau is the state for all South Sudanese and therefore all facilities should be shared through consultation with any unit concern.

"Wau belongs to all of us", he said, adding that all South Sudanese have the right to own and in any part of the country, including Wau.

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