Speaker of Western Equatoria State Shot Dead by Unknown Gunmen
August 22, 2015 (Nyamilepedia) – The speaker of Western Equatoria State Hon. James Bage Elias has been shot dead by allegedly “unknown gunmen” yesterday evening around 9 PM local time while driving from the Village of Birisi back into Yambio the state Capital.
According to the official spokesperson of the the state government Eng. Charles Kisanga, the Honorable Speakers vehicle was spread with bullets by unknown gunmen at the Uze Bridge just a couple of Kilometers to Yambio town, the Speaker was hit and died while his bodyguard managed to escape and informed authorities in the town about the incident.
“He was killed in a road ambush by some unknown gunmen, just a few KMs from Yambio town on the road to Birisi. This incident occurred at around 9:00 PM on August 21st 2015 as he and one bodyguard were returning from an evening meeting with the Gangura Payam SPLM Secretary in his constituency.” Said an official statement released by the state’s spokespersons Charles Kisanga.
The late Hon. James is considered a controversial figure in Western Equatoria Politics, he was blamed by the central government of being behind the mobilization of Youth and arrow boys to fighting the central government of Salva Kiir.
Locals in Western Equatoria blamed Kiir’s government of supporting cattle keepers community to enter the state with their cattle leading to destruction of local farms and an increased of crimes in the state, the locals called for the cattle keepers from Bahr El Ghazal to leave their state.
The late speaker disappeared last month for several weeks during unrests which hit Yambio and other parts of his state after fighting broke out between youth and the soldiers loyal to president Salva Kiir, he later reappeared after several weeks saying he had gone for a visit to his local village.
However there was unverified news that the late Speaker could have defected to the armed opposition while he disappeared from the state for several week, or that he was having some contacts with South Sudan’s armed opposition, this rumours seems to have raised eyebrows within Salva Kiir’s regime.
Late Hon. James Bage Elias body was brought back by youth who rushed to the scene to find the speaker dead and the unknown gunmen who shot him had long disappeared from the scene.
The speakers body will be laid to rest at a special section of the state legislative assembly premises according state officials.
The spokesperson of the state Eng. Charles Kisanga said a three days of mourning has been declared in the state by the new caretaker governor, where all the national and state flags should fly at half masks in honour of the assassinated Speaker.