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28 people killed in clashes between soldiers and ‘armed civilians’ in Tonj North

28 people killed in clashes between soldiers and ‘armed civilians’ in Tonj North
South Sudan soldiers | Credit | Courtesy

Authorities in Tonj North County said 28 people have died following clashes between armed youth and South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) in Tonj North County, Warrap state.

The skirmishes were reportedly triggered by a disarmament exercise in Arul village of Rualbet Payam over the weekend.

According to the acting Commissioner of Tonj North, among the dead are senior SSPDF officers, including three commanders, the Chief of Military Intelligence, Majors and Captains, and the former Commissioner of Mayen Jur of the defunct Gogrial State, among others.

Commissioner Bak Ajunt Kuot disclosed that some soldiers are still missing.

”We know that disarmament is not yet done because the number of armed youths are more considerable than one of the disarmament forces…”The people who die now are the people of South Sudan,” he said.

Local leaders are appealing for calm and asked the civilians to cooperate with the disarmament forces.

Commissioner Bak Ajunt issued a stern warning to the armed civilians and soldiers alike.

“I am warning the community to stop fighting the government. It is a crime and should not be encouraged…The government should respect the community of Tonj like other Counties in Warrap,” Bak stated.

The SSPDF headquarters is yet issue a statement on the situation in Tonj North.

In 2020, fighting erupted between civilians and soldiers deployed to conduct disarmament exercise in Tonj East. More than 100 people, including soldiers were killed.