Duol Jok Chan (R) after returning home and a picture of his arm (L) where he etched the initials of his name. (Courtesy photo)

14-Year-old former abductee reunited with family in Akobo

Duol Jok Chan, 14, who was kidnapped by Murle tribesmen on 7 April, alongside his younger brother, escaped captivity earlier this week and has been reunited with his family in Deng Jok Payam in Jonglei State’s Akobo County.

Duol Jok Chan, 14, who was kidnapped by Murle tribesmen on 7 April, alongside his younger brother, escaped captivity earlier this week and has been reunited with his family in Deng Jok Payam in Jonglei State’s Akobo County.

However, his younger brother, Pal Jok Chan, 11, is still being held by his captors in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA).

Duol’s uncle, James Mut Makuei, expressed joy at his nephew’s return.

“Duol is a smart schoolboy,” Mut stated. “Upon his arrival in the Murle village, he etched his initials onto his left arm using a sharp piece of wood. The abbreviation ‘D. J. C.’—signifying Duol Jok Chan—was visible.”

The circumstances surrounding Duol’s escape remain mysterious but his resilience and determination are evident.

Coincidentally, the abduction of the two siblings occurred on the same day that representatives from the Dinka Bor, Murle, and Lou Nuer communities gathered in Akobo town to finalize a peace agreement whose goal was to put an end to such crimes plaguing the greater Jonglei region.

Puok Nyang, the commissioner of Akobo County, called upon the commissioner of Likuangole County in GPAA to locate and safely return the missing 11-year-old boy, Pal Jok Chan to Akobo.

“I believe he (commissioner) will also secure the release of all children abducted during the peace conference,” Nyang asserted, emphasizing the urgency of reuniting families torn apart by violence.

Abductions of women and children remain distressingly common in South Sudan. Women and girls are often abducted to serve as forced mothers, while boys face a different fate—they are trained as warriors and coerced into joining inter-communal conflicts, including cattle raiding. These abductions represent one of the three primary causes of intercommunal strife in greater Jonglei, alongside cattle rustling and revenge killings.

As the community grapples with these challenges, the safe return of Duol Jok Chan serves as a beacon of hope—a testament to the resilience of the human spirit even in the face of adversity. We join the families in celebrating this reunion and continue to advocate for lasting peace in the region.