Nimule crisis: Chief’s shooting fuels chaos in country’s border point

Nimule crisis: Chief’s shooting fuels chaos in country’s border point
The Nimule bridge the landmark between South Sudan and Ugandan sides.

When Koma James, one of the chiefs in Nimule went to attend a funeral meeting at the office of Chief Ebele John for two men killed on Saturday, the last thing he expected was another death.

Koma said the locals had gathered at Chief Ebele’s office next to Malakia Police Station, where he would meet a gruesome death at the hand of a shooter on Monday afternoon.

“As a community, we came together to plan the burial of the two bodies that had been discovered.” A stranger joined the locals and started taking photos of the bodies, an action that would infuriate the locals, prompting them to attack this male stranger who was taking pictures of the deceased,” he said.

According to Koma, this stranger was not a lone ranger. Another man was hiding nearby. The only difference is that he was armed with a gun, which he used to kill Chief Ebele and injure six other people.

Maj. Gen. David Kasimiro, the Inspector of Police in Nimule, was also shot in his leg when they were trying to control the situation, and he was taken to the hospital for treatment.

The killing of the chief sparked public outrage and residents in Nimule blocked the highway connecting Juba to Uganda for hours in protest of the killings.

According to Patrick Oting Cyprian, the Eastern Equatoria State Minister of Information, the angry youth refused to let traffic through and the situation on the ground has remained tense. He claimed that they carried the bodies of the deceased and laid them out on the road, making it difficult for both Juba-bound and Uganda-bound vehicles to pass.

He narrated that before the local youth finally agreed to open the road for vehicles from Juba to pass, neither vehicles coming from Juba nor those from Uganda were able to pass. They cannot block the mobility of people pass, he said.

“Actually the [killing] of the chief probably angered them. That is why they came on the street. They blocked vehicles since the morning”. 

 “So far, we have negotiated with them; they have allowed the vehicles from Juba now they are passing. We are hoping that they will allow vehicles en route to Juba from Uganda to pass,” he said.

Although they calmed down and allowed motorists to use the road, the minister stated that the youths had declined to remove bodies from it. By the time of going to press, the youth had declined a proposal that they take the bodies away from the national highway.

“Up to this far, they are not allowing even the bodies to be carried. The majority are saying the bodies should be carried but others are giving different options that the bodies should not be carried. So, that is where we are right now. That is where found ourselves,” Minister Oting told The City Review.

Previous attacks

Before the incident on Monday, a doctor was brutally killed in the nearby Nimule bush just days after 20 people were killed and over 10,000 head of cattle were stolen. However, Mugali was the origin of every incident that occurred in the surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, when asked by The City Review if the killing of the chief and the other two young men was related to the earlier incident, Mr Oting responded that the chief was killed as a result of the two bodies of the gentlemen being found by locals in Mugali Payam two days prior and that it had nothing to do with the earlier incident involving locals and cattle herders.

“There is nothing that is connecting to the former incident. The incident is just connected to the incident of two days ago where two people were killed” said the Minister.

The community was shocked to learn of Chief Ebele John’s passing at a time when residents of Nimule had gathered for a meeting to discuss how to show solidarity for the burial of those two who had been killed in cold blood over the weekend.