22 February 2013

Sudan: Lakes - Officers Arrested Over Prisoner Escape

Rumbek — Two senior officers from from Lakes state's police and prison services were briefly arrested in Rumbek after a prisoner accused of murder briefly escaped in Rumbek Central Prison services on Wednesday.

Lakes state's caretaker military governor, Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol, is taking a hardline against suspected cattle raiders and others accused of violent crime as he attempts to restore security in the restive state after his surprise appointment last month.

The two arrested officers were detained at Langcok military prison after a suspected murderer, whose name has only been given as Chol, escaped from prison in Rumbek Central County.

Chol is accused of killing a person in Pulapat Village of Rumbek East County on Wednesday as revenge attack in connection with recent violence around Lel cattle camp in Kurnhom located in the southwest of the county.

The governor said that he personally ordered the arrest of the two senior prison officers after hearing of the suspects escape but asked that they be released after he was recaptured.

Addressing chiefs in his home village in Pacong payam [district] of Rumbek East County, Governor Dhoul stated that "those who killed people must to be arrested and justice need quick to be apply on those suspected killers."

"Those who killed people have to report themselves to police or to their chiefs. There is no point [for] you [to] kill innocent people and you remain hiding yourself again, come and tell us why you kill people?" said Dhoul.

Rumbek East County commissioner David Marial Gumke, has reported that six people suspected of taking part in the recent clashes in Alel cattle camp have been arrested. Six people have died of gunshot wounds and seven people sustained gunshot wounds, he said.

Since Dhuol replaced Lakes state's first elected Governor, Chol Tong Mayay, in January after a presidential decree, insecurity has continued in Rumbek North, Cueibet, Rumbek East and Rumbek Central counties, in spite of Dhoul placing security reform as his priority.

Rumbek North remain flash point for cattle raiding related clashes with neighbouring Unity state.

Rumbek East county has also experienced the continuation of inter-clan clashes between sections of the native Dinka tribe, which had erupted shortly before the former governor was sacked.

Governor Dhoul, on Friday vowed to summon his Unity state counterpart, Governor Taban Deng Gai, for meeting before South Sudanese president Salva Kiir to ask him to account for the repeated cattle raids from his state.

Unity state, however, also accuses young men of Lakes state of attacking them and taking their cattle.

Civilian populations in South Sudan regularly complained that disarmament campaigns have left the powerless to defend themselves against any form of aggression, despite the army deploying extra forces in conflict hotspots.

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