AC/C/11/1/8 August 3rd, 2009
Gun men Carry out another Massacre of 161 people in Akobo
On the dawn at 5 am through 8 am of Sunday August 2nd 2009, another massacre took place at Geni River at Mareng which is about 40 Km south west of Akobo. It should be recalled that the most devastating attack took place in April in a number of Nyandit Payam villages, killing about 300 people mostly women, elderly and children and displaced the whole area population to Akobo town.
The Geni victims mostly women and young children camped in the area for three weeks in search of food by forming fishing villages along Geni river, while being watched over by two dozens of police and army for protection. The attack was swift and over powered the few soldiers, and immediately started shooting at about hundred unarmed people by chasing them towards the river, chased the people into three directions; to Akobo, Pibor and Burmath Boma in Nyandit Payam to the east.
The news were received from the eleven fleeing wounded men and a woman who arrived Akobo town at around 10 Oclock and are currently being treated in Akobo hospital. The Akobo County Executive Director immediately dispatched two vehicles with police to search for survivors, and Seventy seven (161) confirmed dead (100 women and Children 50 men civilians and 11 SPLA officers) and are being buried by the river side as of 11 oclock this morning August 3, 2009. 29 wounded and 3 being SPLA soldiers. Dozens of children and women are still missing and most are believed to be either killed or abducted by the attackers. The authorities are still searching for survivors by beating drums and checking the river and the woods for more dead. More details are still emerging as these are just the preliminary reports.
The attackers are believed to be one of the groups of Murle tribes men who recently attacked Lony village north west of Akobo County on July 29th and killed a couple, abducted their child and ran away with some 100 head of cattle belonging to three families in the area. A similar group attacked Kwecar village to raid cattle but were unsuccessful. A larger group attacked Dengjok and Obere in June by killing two individuals and ran Away with a thousand head of cattle in Denjok Payam and killing Five and wounding two in Obere and ran away with un specified number of cattle.
The people of Akobo are trying to survive by all means; a boats convoy carrying about 800 mT of WFP food and camping material was attacked at Nasser County in Upper Nile on June 12th 2009, exacerbating the complex situation already created by a blockade of the only transport for trade from Upper Nile and Ethiopia since March, 2009 when a string of killings and counter attacks gripped the two communities resulting in about 100 dead on both sides and additional more than a hundred during the boat attack.
The UN continues to airlift food to Akobo, but proofed to be insufficient; the result was for the community members to fend for themselves looking for food in a very hostile environment.
• There is no passable route leading to Akobo from any direction, therefore we urge the International community, the government of Southern Sudan to urgently do Something or/and pave road (s) to Akobo and for people of Sobat corridor to allow the trade boats and UN humanitarian Assistance without hindrance as the only viable solution to Akobo misery.
• The protection of civilians has proven to be a difficult job due to lack security roads and well trained, equipped or sufficient police force for the county.
• The ceasefire committee formed by Southern Sudan Peace Commission between Murle and Nuer failed to convince Murle Youth during the last three months and their recommendations for a conference in Pibor town casts some doubt amongst Nuer chiefs on genuineness of such an initiative.
• The United Nations Mission in Sudan pulled out of Pibor and Akobo just a week ago falling short of making a meaningful impact on the reason of their presence in the first place. We urge more objectivity and purposefulness of such missions in the future.
• There is an urgent need of disarming all Jonglei Communities and particularly the Murle before the next dry season in order to save lives.
• Ask State Authorities/UNMIS for an urgent flight to Akobo to assess the situation and to provide more food to the people in Akobo County.
Goi Jooyul Yol
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