July 4, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Traumatized by over six months conflict, South Sudanese are fleeing to UNMISS camps in multiple states across the country.
Sources in Marididi report that the local population is fleeing the town after two civilians were killed last night by government soldiers.
“In maridi, as I speak now, the town is not alive has it used to be, most of the shops are closed and you can see people around the streets with children, with mattresses, trying to move out of the town to look for somewhere to hide. So they are expecting, maybe, there could be retaliation from the relatives of the deceases or the soldiers will again continue with the shooting. So those are the kind of rumors going around…So, people are really fearful and the town is in panic” Bishop Justin Badi from Maridi.
Revd Justin Badi Artama, the Anglican bishop of Maridi, tells the voice of America that the residents of Maridi are living in fear and panic. The cause of fighting, as he believes, was an argument between young people in a local bar.
“This morning, we got the details that yesterday, there were some young people drinking beers, in one of the bars in the town, then they started argument, some of their colleagues, were actually from the army. Those who were from the army, went home quickly, then put their uniforms, came back with guns and then began to threaten young people, then they took three of them”Revd Justin explains.
“They took them somewhere, then we found out that two were actually shot dead and there is one injured, is now receiving treatment at Maridi civil hospital.” bishop Justin continued.
Sources from Maridi believe that the youth were discussing federalism, which upset the government agents nearby.
“Yes, the soldiers, I have not seen them but the names I heard seem like they are from Dinka Ethnic group and then, of course, the local boys are boys from around Maridi.” Said Revd. Justin Badi.
“This could be because of the topic of federalism and many other thing” Revd. Justin continued.
Alfonso Mori, a resident of Maridi, like Revd Justin, believes that the incident was inspired by federalism discussion.
“They were shot because they were discussing federalism. A group of soldiers who happened to be around got mad and opened fire killing the Moru guy named Ziko. Waiwa is the one who escaped and has gunshots wounds. The Kakwa boy was shot at point blank he was shot 4 times as per the bullet wounds. 1.Zeko Mathias (moro) killed 2. Taban Ali Luaya (kakwa) killed 3. Waiwai Marko (baka) wounded and escaped” Alfonso said.
Juba has imposed curfews and deploys more troops on the streets last week. The city has had tension for over two weeks as the government engages the people of Equatoria over the fundamental system of governance, federalism.
The president urges the people of Equatoria to stop calling for federalism and instead work for peace. He argues that the idea will divide his “internal front”.
Media houses have reported intimidation as more troops are reportedly deployed in Juba and Terekeka. Editors in Juba report receiving letters that warn them to refrain from publishing or discussing federalism.
In other reports, warring factions are alleged to be advancing simultaneously towards each other in Malakal and Bentiu as residents flee to UNMISS compounds.
“The government forces and the opposition forces are often in very close proximity of each other, so I think there are many people who fear that things might erupt from one day to another,” said the U.N. Mission in South Sudan’s (UNMISS) head of Peace-building, Reintegration and Recovery, Derk Segaar.
Local sources from UNMISS compounds in Bentiu and Rubkona of Unity state report hearing clashes in the towns. The cause is yet to be verified.
Col. Philip Aguer, the SPLA spokesperson, and Brig. Lul Ruai Koang, the spokesperson for SPLA in opposition have reported similar tensions in Ayod and Nasir; However, the two disagree on who plans to attack the other.
Col. Aguer argues that the rebels are planning to launch an attack on their position, a report Brig. Lul denies. Lul argues that their forces are containing the government troops in the towns to prevent them from invading their territories.
“That is not true, we have been trying to contain their movements outside those camps, you know when the government forces entered Nasir on the 4th and Ayod, you know, they kept on trying to advance to our teritories. Your know Nasir is small town and Ayod is the same. So, they have been trying to advancing to our positions but we have been trying to contain them” Brig. Lul said.
Aguer said the rebels have attacked their positions in Mayen-jur village of Gogrial East county, Warrap State. Lul denies any involvement alleging that the attack must have been carried out by cattle raiders.
“In an attack, 8 people were killed, unfortunately, and 11 wounded. The SPLA based around managed to protect the property of the civilian, which was the target. And after the attackers were defeated and they left heavy casualties behind them and they withdraw towards Unity State” Aguer said.