Unity state government denies accusation over Leer fighting

The minister of youth and sports who is also a government spokesperson says the government is not responsible for the fighting in Leer as allege and direct his blame on the SPLA in opposition.

Hon. David Gai says the youth from Koch were pursuing the attackers under the SPLA IO commander gen. Ruot Chuol until they reach the so-called port in Leer.

“No, no, the fighting, not the government. Those were youth from Koch County, which the SPLA IO attacked under the command of Gen. Ruot.

Mr. Gai has admitted the destruction caused by the conflict that has displaced civilians in Leer and unspecified number of people reported killed.

He says the government is working to restore calm and peace to the affected communities around Leer County.

The deputy governor of Unity state, Hon. Tor Tungwang who is from the SPLM IO accused the two counties’ commissioners of Mayendit and Koach of inciting the violence, an accusation, The Radio Community has not independently verified.

“The purpose of their joint operations against civilians of Leer County and as a result civilians have been killed and their properties looted. the entire villages of Leer displaced to swampy areas,” Tungwang said.

Some members of the transitional national legislative assembly representing Leer County in Unity state have condemned the fighting and killing of civilians, burning of houses by armed youth.

Hon. Kuong Dak Wie, Member of TNLA says the attack has caused massive destruction and looting of people properties is politically motivated.

Council states member Hon. Ruot Duol Reath says is deeply concerned about the ongoing violence that has caused extreme human rights abuses against civilians.

The MPs blamed the state government for not taking immediate action to stop the fighting, but government says the SPLA in opposition is to blame for starting conflict.

“We call president Salva Kiir to order investigation, and to hold those responsible for the perpetuating violence against unarmed civilians to be held accountable,” said lawmakers.

Eyewitnesses in Leer described the horrific scene of the situation saying they have seen bodies lying in river of Pulbuor, Nyagiy, Tuocriak, Mabil, and Meer swarm areas.

One of the witnesses told The Radio Community he counted 10 bodies on his way to the cantonment side, where he finds safety.

Gatdiet Jal, a father of 10 children and three wives said he doesn’t know where his family fled to as they got separated. He witnessed people being killed at their hiding places, girls being raped, armed groups looting other abducted, and people’s properties.

“No one is collecting their bodies. All those killed are civilians, and old people were also burnt inside the houses,” he said, an account TRC has not independently verified.

Ms. Maria Nyathiey, a mother of four said she had been displaced from Adok Payam, saying several residents were displaced from their villages shelter in the Cantonment area.

Nyathiey says several children are still missing. The displaced persons face severe hunger and lack shelter and clean drinking water.

She calls on the government to stop the violence and urged humanitarians to assist the affected population.

“It’s a real suffering, no food or plastic sheets and clothes because all those were left behind, and people ran for their safety. Our homes have been destroyed, and South Sudan’s government should work with humanitarians to assist us,” she stressed.

Last week, parties called the army commanders to stop confrontations. The people in those affected areas should live in peace as the unification of forces is expected to happen this month.