12 June 2009 – (Nassir) – Reports reaching Sudan Radio Service from Nassir county in Upper Nile state say that fighting has broken out between SPLA soldiers and civilians, after civilians ambushed SPLA soldiers escorting food aid for displaced people in Akobo County in Jonglei state.
The program manager for the Nassir Community Development Agency, David Ngang, spoke to Sudan Radio Service on Friday afternoon.
[David Ngang]: “Last week, the WFP loaded 20 boats with food supposed to be taken to Akobo and the food was stopped in Nassir. Dialogue has been going on and the community was convinced the food was being taken to Akobo. We expected the food to be dispatched from Nassir but only today the community said that the soldiers escorting the food said they will take the food by force. Then the communities were angry and followed these boats and the fight started about an hour ago.”
Ngang said the reason behind the attack was a reprisal for last month’s attacks on Torkech, when 70 people, mostly children and women, were killed by attackers allegedly from Akobo County.
[David Ngang]: “It was because of last month’s problem. The Torkech incident. The community is still angry but at least they cooled down. But they were saying if the food was for the UN, let it be taken without an escort. The problem was the boat belonging to the traders from Akobo that was among WFP boats. They said these boats should be left behind.”
Ngang said the fighting involved 400 SPLA soldiers.
[David Ngang]: “Initially, one hundred soldiers were involved in the escort but this morning 400 were brought from near Wanding to reinforce the 100 soldiers. Now, five minutes ago, I was just talking to my staff who are recording the fighting; I could even hear the sound of bullets. They told me the soldiers are running toward Torpuot and they are coming toward Ketbeek which is in Eastern part of Nassir.”
Ngang said he didn’t know the extent of the casualties because the fighting was still going on in the eastern part of Nassir town.
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