Jonglei development contingent on disarmament: President Kiir
May 6, 2012 (BOR) – The president of South Sudan has urged the people of Jonglei state against inter-ethnic violence by respecting the recently signed peace accord.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir with governor, Kuol Manyang at Bor airstrip listening to a bandon arrival for the start of Jonglei’s disarmament campaign. March 12, 2012 (ST)
Kiir, who witnessed the signing of the peace deal between by the six tribes of Jognlei on May 5, said development can only take place when there is peace.
He asked “what will I use to construct the roads?” in reference to the engineers and their equipment, which are under threat of attack when Jonglei is in a state of insecurity.
Kiir also referenced the great need for other developmental construction work in the state which was devastated during the Sudanese civil war.
He said that construction work in the state will halt “until there are no more gunshots in Jonglei.”
Over 10,000 firearms are reported to have been collected in the 11 counties of Jonglei since disarmament began on February 13, according to the report made by the South Sudan army (SPLA) head of disarmament in Jonglei.
Kiir alleged that politicians from the state “make calls from Juba telling their people back home to commit more atrocities,” and that some politicians in the state had rejected the forced disarmament of its citizens.
This sentiment was shared by the UN; in March its Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement, “Jonglei’s rival communities are wary of relinquishing their weapons, regardless of government promises to carry out disarmament simultaneously in each area”.
Kiir also claimed that “when five guns are collected they [civilians] will get 20 more” without stating specifically who he suspected of arming the state’s citizens.
Previous disarmament programmes have been subject to criticism from various groups. Some claim that it was not carried out equitably throughout the ethnic groups, leaving some more vulnerable to inter-ethnic violence than others.