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TORIT - 13 Apr 2021

One killed as soldiers clash with armed youth along Torit-Lafon road

Major Justin Kleopus Takuru, the Eastern Equatoria State police spokesperson. [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]
Major Justin Kleopus Takuru, the Eastern Equatoria State police spokesperson. [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]

Police authorities in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria State say one person was killed and another wounded after four civilians clashed with military intelligence officers along the Torit- Lafon road at Oudo-Oronyo junction on Sunday.

According to the police, the armed youth blocked the road with logs prompting the military vehicle heading to Lafon from Torit to stop.

Major Justin Kleopus Takuru, the Eastern Equatoria State police spokesperson said, "We received information that military intelligence soldiers were traveling to Lafon and when they arrived at the junction leading to Oronyo and Oudo, they found four armed people had blocked the road,” Maj. Takuru said. “When one of the soldiers asked them to put their guns down, one of them started releasing bullets on the ground and when the other one was also getting his gun ready, the soldiers shot one to death and wounded another one now admitted at Torit State Hospital.”

He disclosed that the body of the deceased was taken to the police station but then referred to the hospital for forensic examination while the wounded youth is in stable condition.

“When the body was brought here, we did our investigation and referred it to the hospital. The one who was wounded is in good condition just that he was drunk but the military intelligence personnel had taken him for investigation. The other two, out of the four, ran away,” Maj. Takuru added.

Torit County Commissioner, Andrew Philipson, clarified that the armed youth were deployed by their village people to maintain security on the road.

"The Monyomiji (home guards) deployed some youth to monitor the movement around that area. The military was passing through and they wanted to know why the armed youth were in that area and the reply was that this area is dangerous with robbers roaming around. The soldiers tried to disarm them and they resisted leading to the clash. This is what I heard, Commissioner Andrew said.

The minister of local government and law enforcement, Peter Lokeng Lotone, said the government was not happy about the clashes and called on the youth to refrain from the practice of blocking roads.

“We need to tell them that we don’t want any blockage on the road. We don’t want anybody to move with a gun or uniform along the road. The road is for the government, the road is for the civilians who can travel the way they want. We were not happy when they clashed when the person died yesterday (Sunday),” Lokeng said.

Last week a lorry hired by a humanitarian organization transporting building materials to Lafon was attacked, passengers stripped naked and their belongings robbed.