Juba, South Sudan,
June 12, 2021 – Authorities in Lanya County of Central Equatoria is calling on the senior rank of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) to facilitate the release of two civilians abducted by the men in uniform.
The authority says the two people currently detained were among the 13 others taken by SSPDF with 11 reportedly released.
“Eleven people were released last week, but two people are still in the custody of SSPDF and we don’t know their fate. The other person is a local trader. So we are calling on the government to release the two,” said Joel Rufas Taban, an Acting Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Lanya County.
He said Lanya has turned into a battlefield of SSPDF and NAS forces with both victimizing civilians accusing them of backing their foes. Joel said it was time leaders practice what they preach.
“We sing one song, the song of peace that people need peace now to settle in their areas, not only in Lanya but in the whole of South Sudan because that will be a benefit to ordinary citizens,” he said.
“But what leaders say is contrary to what is on the ground. When will these killings end? Many returnees are forced to go back to refugee camps where they came from because the situation there is so bad,” Joel said.
The Bishop called on both SSPDF and NAS to cease hostilities and allow people returning from camps to rebuild their livelihood.
In May, the SSPDF was accused of arresting and killing 4 worshipers, including a priest in Lanya during a Sunday service.
Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, SSPDF Spokesperson told the media the SSPDF rank would launch investigations into the incidence.
Matthew Laku, acting paramount chief of Lanya County, said despite relative calm within Lanya town, insecurity remained rife in remote areas.