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Locals hand over guns to security forces in restive Tonj North

Locals hand over guns to security forces in restive Tonj North
FILE: Arms collected from civilians in Greater Tonj, Warrap state. Courtesy

Local youths in Raul-bet, Mabuoth, Kerik, and Marial Lou have surrendered over 200 guns to the disarmament force deployed in Tonj North County of Warrap state.

The area acting commissioner Bak Ajuot said among the ammunitions are 27 which belonged to soldiers killed by armed youth last month.

In June, at least 28 people died during clashes between soldiers and armed civilians in Tonj North County. Those killed include; SSPDF Chief of Military Intelligence, Majors and Captains, three commanders, and the former Commissioner of Mayen Jur of the defunct Gogrial State, among others.

The skirmishes were reportedly triggered by a disarmament exercise in Arul village.

The incident prompted high-ranking security officials to visit the area to restore law and order and convince the community to cooperate with organized forces. Among the security team were; SSPDF Chief of Defense Forces General Santino Deng Wol, Inspector General of Police General Majak Akech, and the Director of National Security Service General Akol Koor.

Acting Commissioner, Ajuot said the efforts have resulted in the recovery of 278 guns from the civilians.

He also disclosed that 81 cattle that were raided from Kongkjoor and taken to Rualbet Payam have been recovered and handed over to their owners.

Commissioner Ajuot is appealling to the community to continue cooperating with the organized forces.

“To all those having guns, please put down the guns. Guns in the hands of civilians frustrates ongoing development,” he said, adding that “insecurity threatens free movement and creates fear. Let us promote peace and allow every citizen free movement.”

The conflict in Rual-bet Payam has led to the displacement of thousands of people who are currently in need of humanitarian assistance in Tonj East.

Officials say the IDPs lack access to basic needs like food and shelter.