Forces deployed to troubled Ikwoto County

Forces deployed to troubled Ikwoto County
SSPDF soldiers on a mission. [Photo: Sheila Ponnie, City Review]

Authorities in Eastern Equatoria State have deployed forces to embattled Ikwoto County following deadly clashes between the civilians and the military.

Serious fighting broke out Sunday and continued to Monday after three people killed.

Locals including area chief reportedly fled before fleeing nearby churches for protection.

Joseph Lokolong Genesio, Ikwoto County Commissioner told The City Review Tuesday that a contingent of forces have already arrived in the area.

“We indeed requested the forces that came all along from Juba and Torit to calm the situation,”  Lokolong stated.

He said the deployment of more forces has restored calm in the area as it brought all guns to silent.

“The county has taken a quiet number of hours without hearing any gunshots today due to the presence of the national forces and some from the state.

“So, the situation is normal when the intervention force arrived and all the citizens who were displaced are back to their families and beginning to stabilise lives afresh in their various homes,” he said.

He said the forces and the local leaders are working round the clock to find the root cause of the conflict that resulted in fighting and the displacement of civilians.

On Monday, the paramount Chief, Odongi Joseph said the issue started on Sunday in a bar in Hai Turuju residential area after one of the soldiers was shot dead by an armed civilian.

He added that the conflict intensified after the soldiers were sent to the scene to find out what had happened.

“The root cause of the clashes remains unclear and I believe quarrels could be one of the main reasons for the clashes between the civilians and the soldiers,” Odongi said.

“Immediately when they got one of their colleagues was shot and the soldiers were taking alcohol and maybe they quarreled over something that resulted in the clashes.

So, these soldiers began to shoot at the civilians and three people were killed and one sustained injury and is now taking medication in the hospital and this is what happened yesterday.”