CEPO Executive Director Edmund Yakani [File photo]

CEPO’s Yakani faults government for runaway violence

A South Sudanese civil society activist on Wednesday said the government has abdicated its constitutional mandate of protecting civilians and their property.

A South Sudanese civil society activist on Wednesday said the government has abdicated its constitutional mandate of protecting civilians and their property.

Edmund Yakani who doubles as the executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) made the statement following the killing of 13 people in Rumamer in Abyei on Monday by a 200-strong armed group comprised of Nuer and Twic Dinka youths.

He said armed youth and armed pastoralists across the country were increasingly undermining the constitutional function of the government and the application of rule of law.

“This recent growth in the trend of armed herders or youth fostering violence in the community is clearly showing us that the state is losing its constitutional mandate of providing security and protection for civilians in the country,” he said. “It is now clear in the incidents in Gumuruk, Mangala, and this incident in Rumamer in the Abyei area that the state has no authority in providing the safety and security of individuals in the communities. So, armed groups are now taking charge of imposing what they want or other interests.”

Yakani also said President Salva Kiir should take responsibility and punish individuals or groups of persons who fuel violence.

“The leadership should not compromise in terms of accountability and punish individuals who are behind fueling this violence.” He said. “The report by Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi Akol mentioned those responsible but they decided to punish the youth who have no authority in shaping the violence. They detained these youths yet the politicians who are behind the violence are left unpunished.”

Yakani warned that cases of violence and resultant deaths will only escalate if the government does not step up.

“As long as the country’s leadership is not proactive and does not punish those effectively engaged in fueling deadly violence, the civilians will continue facing gross human rights violations in various forms,” he warned.