Lakes Governor Urges Wau Residents To Reconcile

Lakes Governor, Chol Tong with the state Minister for Physical Infrastructure, Adak Costa in Wau. [Gabriel Mayom]

The governor was addressing thousands of Christians at the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) Diocese of Wau at Good Shepherd Cathedral.

Recently Western Bahr el Ghazal state witnessed protests and killings over transfer of Wau County headquarters to Bagari.

During the violence, nine people were confirmed dead as several people sustained gunshot wounds and loss of property.

“People of Rumbek, you must stay away in making problems with citizens of Wau – you are one people with same dignity with Wau citizens – you are all citizens of South Sudan who voted for separation and finally you brought peace to your coming generation,” said Mayay.

Authorities arrested eight suspects in connection with the deaths in Parajallah, which is located in the Bagari area; the proposed new location for the Wau County headquarters.

Bagari is inhabited by the Balanda tribe, also known as the Fartit, whose youth groups and intellectuals have rejected the proposed relocation of the Wau County administration.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit said during a visit to Western Bahr el Ghazal state that the Wau County headquarters must be moved to Bagari as proposed by the state authorities.

He said that there is nothing wrong with relocation of Wau County headquarters to Bagari as the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party policy is for taking towns to people in the rural villages.

The president also held closed-door meeting whereby he was briefed on security issues. No statement was made to media by the officials on the security briefing.

The governor said the move by the state government to transfer Wau County head quarters to Bagari is not ill intentioned but rather extension of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) vision of taking towns to the people.

The incident started on 8th to the 9th when demonstrators marched in protest against the decision to take Wau County headquarters to Bagari town.

The South Sudanese army killed nine people when it opened fire on demonstrators angry at the relocation of the headquarters to Bagari.

A United Nations spokesman said the troops had demonstrated “excessive use of force” in breaking up protests and the army said it had launched an investigation to examine whether disproportionate force had been used.

In protest, residents blocked roads out of Wau and the army was sent in to relieve the blockade.

Governor Rizik Zachariah Hassan formed a peace and reconciliation committee headed by his advisor on peace and reconciliation, Efessio Kon Uguak and it includes traditional leaders from the Balanda and Dinka communities.

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