WS Commissioner Survives Alleged Murder Attempt

Speaking to Gurtong, Bol said the incident occurred at Kapara boma at about 6pm, while he was returning from Wau. According to his account, a police officer opened fire on his car, which was being driven with the Commissioner’s flag fully raised, after he stopped at a road block. Bol claims the officer fired more than 20 bullets at his car.

The Commissioner, who arrested and detained the officer he accuses of the shooting, expressed surprise over the shooting, noting that the route in question was one he had often travelled without incident: “I used to pass through this area before, with my commissioner flag raised, without any problem,” he said.

It is not immediately clear what sparked the incident, although it is possibly significant that it occurred close to the disputed border line of an area which is claimed both by WBGS’s Jur River County and Warrap State’s (WS) Gogrial East county. Commissioner Bol maintains that he was passing through WS territory at the time of the incident.

“I already knew from the former commissioner of Tonj South county that this area is part of the territory of Warrap state, based on 1956 maps and even a signpost identified the area right from Jebel Tonj near Mapel juncture”, he said. “I don’t know if Western Bahr el Ghazal state is claiming the area. Why do they incite police to kill me?” he added.

The Commissioner’s account is reportedly disputed by the police service in question. A police officer, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Gurtong that it surprised them on Sunday when the Commissioner, while en route to Wau, arrested an officer in charge of a road block. The source claimed the arrest was made without reason.

“Our officer was first detained by the Commissioner at Tonj jail without reporting to us. He was randomly arrested by the Commissioner, when [the] Commissioner found a road block, despite the establishment of the road block through commands from Western Bahr el Ghazal state authority,” he said.

The anonymous source did not admit any police responsibility for the shooting at the commissioner’s car. Indeed, it is not entirely clear from his statement whether the police in question even admit there was a shooting. He did, however, accuse the Commissioner of acting high-handedly in resisting commands from WBGS authorities. 

Commissioner Bol said he had informed Warrap state’s acting governor, Akech Tong, and Jur River commissioner, John Arop, of the incident. Bol said he would not retaliate in response to the attack, calling on the two states to set aside their differences in relation to border issues.

“We are not for border issues now. Let’s put it aside and we will address these state border issues later,” he said. “I will tell my people of Tonj to remain claim and follow this case amicably,” he continued, while calling for the officer in question to be brought to justice.

The relationship between the two neighbouring states has been strained since mid-July, when President Kiir inaugurated a new administrative headquarters building for Nyinakok Jur River county, just hours after Warrap authorities had lodged a formal objection and claim to the area on behalf of Gogrial East county.

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