AUTHOR: Elizabeth Lochapio | PUBLISHED: August 19, 2023
Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng visited Nadapal, Eastern Equatoria on Thursday to pay respect at her Uncle graveyard. The late Benjamin Kuereng Atem died in 1998 during the liberation struggle in Nadapal.
Speaking during the memorial prayer, Nyandeng said she had not only visited to conduct memorial prayer for her late uncle, but for all the people who lost their lives in Kapoeta East during the liberation struggle.
“We came here because of uncle Benjamin, but what came to my mind this morning is that I am not here because of him alone but all those who died here,” Nyandeng said.
This is the first time the vice president visited Nadapal since she left Kapoeta East in 2005 after the death of her late husband Dr. John Garang De Mabior.
Garang died in a helicopter crash in the area on July 30, 2005. He was flying home from talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. The helicopter reportedly encountered bad weather, and radio contact was eventually lost.
The missing helicopter belonged to the Ugandan military.
Garang had led the SPLM during a 21 year civil war. He was sworn in as Sudan’s vice president last month as part of a peace deal he helped negotiate to end the conflict.
Meanwhile, the governor of Eastern Equatoria State citizens have always asked why the government does not make crash site accessible.
“People do ask all the time: Why do we leave New Site in the shape it is currently? They also ask why left New Kush that way. ‘Why don’t you open up a road leading to the place where the helicopter crashed so that it becomes as a memorial for us?'” Lobong said at the same gathering.
“I tell them that this is the role of the national government; it’s the one to plan for it. We can get involved if the national government provides the money for such to take place.”
Those who attended the memorial prayer for late Benjamin include government officials, women, community leaders, and youth among others.