21 March 2014

South Sudan: Cycle of Lakes State Violence Continues, 15 Dead in Cueibet

Rumbek — Clashes between Panyar and Waat sections of the Dinka Gok ethnic group in South Sudan's Lakes state resumed on Wednesday in Cueibet county leaving more than 15 people dead and 34 with gunshot wounds, according to local police.

A police officer who did not wish to be named told Sudan Tribune that the fighting between armed youth had killed 10 people and injured 23 from Panyar and 5 people and 11 injured from the Waat community.

Inter-clan clashes have intensified in Lakes state over the past week, with 34 people reportedly killed and more than 20 people injured after violence broke out at a remote cattle camp at Wunthou in Tiaptiap payam [district] about 80km from Cueibet.

Sticks and firearms were used during the Waat-Panyar clashes. A dispute over a girl has been blamed for triggering the incident.

Cueibet MP Veronica Ujuma Philip Dak has said state authorities have failed to step in to quell worsening tribal tensions.

Separate clashes have also occurred in Agany village in Yirol West county, 75 miles from Rumbek Central county, with Rumbek East county youth accused of launching several attacks capturing the payam headquarters of Yirol West and killing more than ten people.

Last week, the acting secretary general of South Sudan's ruling party - the SPLM - Anne Itto made a surprise visit to the Lakes state capital, Rumbek.

As part of her visit, Itto held meetings with the caretaker governor Maj. Gen Matur Chut Dhuol and SPLM state secretary Mabor Ater Dhuol.

Lakes state authorities have become increasingly isolated since governor Dhuol took over after his elected predecessor was removed over a year ago.

Traditional chiefs, students and activists have called on President Salva Kiir to remove Dhuol, but the demands have so far been overlooked.

Under South Sudan's constitution, an election should be held within 90 days, in the event that the president removes a governor from office. However, in the three states where governors were removed last year this has yet to happen and looks unlikely to before the scheduled general elections in 2015.

South Sudanese presidential adviser and former governor of Lakes state , Telar Ring Deng, told Sudan Tribune by email on that: "The problem between Apaak of Yirol West Country dates back to the time we were in the Liberation Struggle" before South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 as part of a 2005 peace agreement.

"The list of incidents prior to the recent one is long" he said, adding that there is a "culture of impunity among our youth".

Some young people in Lakes state are angry that Deng, who is from Lakes state, is allegedly supporting the governor.

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