Raja’s Infighting Was An Attempt on “Lol State” Governor’s Life Over The “28 States”
According to military sources in Raja, a heavy fighting broke out yesterday morning at the governor Rizik Zacharia’s residence and left at least 10 soldiers dead.
The ten deceased have been identified to be bodyguards of governor’s Rizik who include the head of his bodyguards, Capt. Deng Akuei Diing.
Governor Rizik confirmed after his return to Raja that himself and his deputy Sumeiya Adut narrowly escaped the scene but most of his bodyguards were killed.
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Earlier reports feared that Deputy Governor, Adut, was kidnapped by the attackers but latest reports indicate that she has fled back home to Northern Bhar el Ghazal.
The attackers, who withdrew from the town yesterday afternoon, are identified by their colleagues who remained loyal to governor Rizik as known opponents of 28 states.
According to local residents, the town has been badly looted and destroyed by Darfur’s “Justice and Equality Movement” who rushed to Raja after the war broke out.
The Sudanese rebel group, which allied to Salva Kiir government, claim victory yesterday evening, however, Salva Kiir’s SPLA faction also claimed victory allegedly after it combined forces with SPLA-IO to fight “bandits and criminals”.
HealthNet TPO, an aid organization working in Raja, has reportedly lost its vehicles and other property during the looting.
“At least two vehicles and our motorcycles are confirmed to have been taken and fuel and other assets of the compound including satellite phones are stolen,” HealthNet TPO reports.
Although the leader of the attacker is yet to be identified, SPLA military sources confirmed that the rebels are composed of defected soldiers and youth from different tribes that oppose annexation of their area to Lol State through an order of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
“Those forces are rebels from different tribes… The reason they attacked Raja is because they reject their area to be annexed to Lol State. They said they want their own state which is Raja. This is what we heard from some elderly people in the area,” said a wounded soldier who spoke at Aweil Teaching Hospital.
The new state has experienced an internal rift since October 2015 as tribes in Raja County oppose President Kiir’s decision to unite Raja with Aweil West and Aweil North counties to form Lol State.
The intense fighting broke out less than a week after governor Rizik appointed 11 commissioners of 11 controversial counties he created last week.
Governor Rizik also removed politicians including Evaristo Lee Ziki from his position as advisor on political affairs and replaced him with Pasquale Francis Fama.
The reshuffle and creation of new states are believed to have ignited the fighting that targeted mostly the governor and top politicians in the new state.
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