The ruins of the Maper Akot Market in Aweil after the fire. (Photo: Radio Tamazuj)

Fire razes shops in Aweil’s Maper Akot Market

Dozens of shops in Maper Akot Market in the Northern Bahr el Ghazal State capital Aweil were on Wednesday afternoon gutted by fire which destroyed merchandize worth millions of South Sudanese Pounds, traders and the police said.

Dozens of shops in Maper Akot Market in the Northern Bahr el Ghazal State capital Aweil were on Wednesday afternoon gutted by fire which destroyed merchandize worth millions of South Sudanese Pounds, traders and the police said.

Some of the affected traders told Radio Tamazuj that they were sad and uncertain about the future because their goods were destroyed.

According to Ater Akuem, a fruit and vegetable vendor, the fire started at a garbage pit near the market. He said some women traders cautioned the merchants and shoppers about the fire early in the morning.

“The fire started in the garbage pit before spreading and some women had reported and warned about the advance of the fire and asked the people to put it out. The fire advanced towards the market to one shop before spreading to the whole market,” he said. “I sell onions, chicken stock and other consumable commodities at the fruit and vegetable section within the market. I lost all the goods because the fire razed my shop quickly but fortunately, I escaped with my life.”

A restaurateur, Magdalene Awein Dut, said her premises, food, furniture, and utensils were destroyed by the fire.

“The fire first erupted in the garbage pit in the morning hours before 10 a.m. and we doubted that it would reach us. Up to now, we do not know how it spread so fast,” she explained. “Everything has been destroyed.”

Awein added: “All commodity traders and owners of eateries have lost everything. I was here at my restaurant and the fire was unquenchable.”

For his part, Major General Philip Madut Tong, the Northern Bahr el Ghazal State Police Commissioner, immediately inspected the aftermath of the fire and said the fire was quickly spread by a strong wind on Wednesday morning. He promised to release more details after the conclusion of investigations.

“I went to the scene of the fire in the market and what happened there was a strong wind that transferred the fire to a nearby shop from there it spread to the entire Maper Akot Market around 11 a.m.,” he stated. “There are some minor injuries and full details concerning the damages will be released when the assessment is done.”

The UNMISS fire unit and security units in partnership with the South Sudan Civil Defense Forces in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State were deployed to control the fire from reaching other neighborhoods within Maper Akot, the most populated habitat in Aweil town.