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NASIR COUNTY/JUBA/MALAKAL - 15 Feb 2024

Government to send delegation to investigate Nasir fighting

Armed members of the White Army. (File photo)
Armed members of the White Army. (File photo)

Arrangements are underway for a delegation of South Sudan government officials and security officers to visit Nasir County in Upper Nile State to investigate last week’s clashes between armed locals and elements of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).

Several people were killed and scores injured while homes were torched during the clashes following a dispute at a fishing site on the night of 10 February.

Acting Upper Nile State Governor Jeremiah Deng told Radio Tamazuj on Thursday morning that relative calm has since returned to the area and that the investigative team will arrive in Nasir on Friday to probe the incident.

“Nasir is cut off from the rest of the state and therefore there is no clear information on casualties. What we can confirm is that the armed local youth retreated and the situation is calm,” he said. “On Friday, our team will be there to gather details on what triggered the incident and what happened.”

For his part, Maj. Gen. Chol Atem Jongeth, the state police commissioner, also confirmed that Nasir was calm and said casualty details were yet to be established.

“What happened on the night of 10 February were clashes involving SSPDF soldiers and armed civilians also known as the White Army. It started after the SSPDF accused civilians of involvement in stealing their nets and fish from cast nets. The clashes started on February 10 at 9 p.m. and resumed the following morning and later that evening,” he explained. “However, since then the situation returned to normalcy. A delegation is coming from Juba to investigate the incident.”

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, the army spokesperson, said the army leadership is concerned and that investigations were being instituted for a solution to be found.

“What happened involved 3 or 5 of our officers with civilians. Today or tomorrow, the army leadership will dispatch a team to investigate the incident. If our side or the other is found culpable then the law will take its course,” he stated. “On casualties, we will wait for a report from the investigative team but on the first day, we lost one officer. As for casualties on the side of the civilians, we do not have any updates.”