Ruins of armoury blast at Giada military barracks in Juba (Photo: Michael Daniel)

Civilians’ safety fears after fire guts Bor armoury

An activist has raised a red flag over the safety of civilians following Saturday’s fire incident at an armoury in Bor, Jonglei State.

An activist has raised a red flag over the safety of civilians following Saturday’s fire incident at an armoury in Bor, Jonglei State.

Bol Deng Bol, the Executive Director of INTREPID South Sudan, told Radio Tamazuj that though no casualties were reported, the incident was a tip of the iceberg on possible threats to civilians’ lives if the armoury is not relocated elsewhere.

Three weeks ago, a fire erupted at an ammunition depot in Juba’s Giada military barrack, causing a huge blaze that left dozens injured.

 “This armoury is located between Malual-Chaat and Bor Airstrip; it is right within the Taragok IDP camp. It caught fire at 2:00 am at night, and the ammunition there started to blow up, and the sounds scared the citizens there. People were really terrified by these sounds of guns,” Bol said.

Bol further said the recent blaze in Bor not only highlights the potential for loss of lives and destruction of property but also underscores the need for comprehensive safety measures and adherence to international standards regarding the placement of military facilities.

“This is a serious concern, and this is mixed with negligence also because why would a military store be situated among the residents? There is a need for it to be relocated to a more secure, safe, and open place,” he stressed.

The activist attributed the dangerous occurrences to “negligence on the part of the SSPDF.”

For his part, Major General Lul Ruai Koang, the Spokesperson for the SSPDF, confirmed that the armoury in Bor was indeed destroyed by fire. The cause of the blaze was identified as a landmine explosion triggered by a Giant Nile lizard.

“According to the reports I received and the briefing from the Chief of Defense Forces, some shelves and purses for the BM21 multi-barrel rocket were arranged on stands to avoid dumpy conditions in the area. Probably at night, there was this giant, gigantic Nile River monitor lizard that knocked the shelves, and it had a domino effect, which led to that mine’s explosion. No one was injured,” Gen. Lul said.

Major General Lul has appealed to civilians living near military lands to relocate, citing the potential dangers of such incidents.

This incident, plus the one that occurred in Juba, has sparked a broader conversation about the appropriate location of such sensitive military facilities in relation to civilian dwellings.