The governors of the neighboring states of Jonglei and Central Equatoria have issued opposing views on who is responsible for the attacks on communities along the Juba-Nimule highway.
Governor Emmanuel Adil accused cattle keepers from Jonglei state of being behind the insecurities witnessed in his territories in the past and recent weeks.
“Central Equatoria state continued to be confronted with challenges which derails the effort toward security stabilization and economic recovery and mainly arising from armed cattle herders from Jonglei state,” he stated.
Governor Denay Chagor of Jonglei state, however, believes otherwise.
“We do not condone that any criminal that committed a crime somewhere, [but] somehow that the person is from Jonglei state, I don’t think that is a right assessment,” he responded.
The two were addressing the 6th Governors’ Forum in Juba on Friday.
Governor Adil’s remarks follows this week’s killing of 9 people in Lokiliri Payam of Juba County by suspected cattle keepers.
The attack led to Governor Adil issuing an ultimatum for all cattle keepers to leave Central Equatoria state and return to their home areas.
“We have a lot of lives that are lost, we are talking about not less than 50 people. We are talking about cattle that are roaming. I physically went [to witness the cattle]. The whole of me, I cannot lie. I am responsible for my statement,” Adil said.
In another rebuttal, Governor Chagor said there is no evidence that those causing insecurities are cattle keepers. He believes there are criminals masquerading as cattle herders creating the instability.
“There has been looting, killing and stopping of vehicles along the roads. These are criminals and for somebody to say that any criminal along that area is somebody who is a cattle herder from Jonglei, what evidence do we have that these are the people exactly?” He asked.
“I can tell you with confidence these are cattle herders from Jonglei state,” Governor Adil insisted in response.
In his counter-argument, Chagor said:
“How long have we been dealing with issue between Nimule and Juba? Vehicles being attacked by illegal armed groups…are those people from Jonglei? If it’s about looting, even right here in Juba criminals are there.”
However, Governor Adil maintained that the attackers are the cattle herders from Jonglei state.
“This has been confirmed by the presidential order…number 23/2017 that says, all the cattle from Terekeka, Jonglei state. The President of the Republic said Jonglei state in his order.”
President Salva Kiir has indeed issued several orders calling on cattle keepers from Jonglei state to vacate farming areas in Equatoria region. His order also extends to herders from Terekeka and Lakes state to leave all agricultural areas in Western and Central Equatoria state.
But the Presidential order has largely not been implemented.