August 1, 2015(Nyamilepedia) – Heavy fighting has broken out in Yambio, the capital of Western Equatoria state, after news spread that an SPLA soldier entered a church, shooting a priest and four others who were in the church praying. The government soldier then fled into the bush.
According to reliable sources, who spoke to our editorial from Yambio, the town was deserted by 9pm and gunshots could be heard everywhere around the town.
The residents describe the fighting as the heaviest the town of Yambio has seen so far.
It is believed that a unit of government soldiers from Equatoria on hearing the news also defected from the main army and attacked the military barracks.
The “Arrow-boys” and the defectors are believed to be fighting on one side against the government troops.
So far, the number of casualties is yet to be confirmed but the sources alleged that some soldiers and also civilians were killed.
Meanwhile yesterday afternoon a government soldier attacked and killed two bodaboda motor cyclists near the airstrip and fled into a nearby bush.
The soldier is believed to have gone on a shooting rampage after hearing the news that some of their colleagues were killed in fighting with villagers.
Violence started when SPLA soldiers stationed at Biresi village near the Congo border arrested several youths and a chief without any explanation which lead to anger in the community leading to breakout of violence.
“Some of the youths there yesterday went out angry and they went and shot three of the (SPLA) soldiers there in Bindisi.” said Charles Kisanga, the State information minister.
The governor of the state, Mr. Joseph Bakosoro, says he had send the army commander in the area to visit Biseri village to look at the situation and what actually happened when the three soldiers were killed two days ago by angry villagers.
The villages accused the army of harassing and arresting local without any clear justifications.
“We heard that there is one who put on the army raincoat. He shot two young men near the airport in Pothou and ran away, towards northern Yambio,” Governor Bakosoro told media.
The commander of the Arrow-Boys, a local Equatoria civil defence contingent, which has been battling the LRA at the border with Congo had warned the government of Salva Kiir that there would be retaliation and escalation of violence if the youth from Maridi area, who are being held by the army were not immediately released.
Tensions has been rising between Kiir regime and the people of western Equatoria after cattle keepers killed several people and destroyed the local farms leading to calls for them to leave the area.
Sources from the area fear that the youth may join the arrow-boys to harass the SPLA soldiers in the state, threatening that any soldier belonging to Salva Kiir’s side may become an imminent target by the arrow-boys until they leave the state.