SPLA Soldiers Wreak Havoc In Lakes State

Learning was temporarily paralysed at Matangai Primary School in Rumbek Central County, Lakes State when Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers took over the school as their base during a recent disarmament exercise.

As a result, the pupils had to stay home until the soldiers left the premises on Wednesday.

The acting headmaster of the school Santino Maciek Marial said the soldiers arrived at the school on Sunday and broke the classroom doors to gain entry into the classes which they used as sleeping rooms.

“They also turned my office and the staff room into cells where they held any persons resisting disarmament.” he said.

He added that the school furniture consisting of chairs and benches were vandalised while some were stolen by the soldiers when they were departing on Wednesday.

Marial also narrated his ordeal at the hands of the soldiers whom he said assaulted him on Sunday morning at his home near Loreto Girls Secondary School.

“My wife and I were thoroughly beaten and I was robbed of my mobile phone and watch. The army officers manhandled me while insulting me with highly-tribalised connotations”, he said.

Several other cases of harassment by the soldiers were reported, including that of a farmer Marial Mith, who was arrested while cultivating his farm and one of his bulls shot.

A Radio Rumbek FM-98 reporter John Ciec Dut was also assaulted on his way home at night.

“The soldiers who were drunk took my equipment, a mobile phone and 20 Sudanese Pounds as they demanded U$ 5,000 to set me free. I was lucky to have been rescued by soldiers from Bahr el Ghazal who were on patrol”, said Dut.

“These soldiers are mishandling people and insulting us. They are beating everyone, whether officials working in the government or civilians in the name of disarmament”, said a resident who did not wish to be named.

Following the Matangai incident, the Lakes State Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement Agencies Mabor Mayen Wol and the Deputy Governor Daniel Ayual Makoi appealed to the army to practice civility while conducting disarmament.

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