Press release – for immediate release!
November 16, 2011 (SSNA) — Fangak Youth Union would like to condemn, in the strongest term possible, the recent insurrection of rebel’s activities/attack directed or targeting civilians in Fangak County. On 12th of November, 2011, a civilian passenger boat, which was travelling from Phom el Zeraf, the County headquarters, to Old Fangak, was attacked by armed men believed to be belonging to rebel leader, George Athor.
The attack took place between Nyalual and Luoi near Kolanyang, 5 kilometers away from Phom, the County headquarters. The attack occurred at 2 PM in the afternoon when the civilian boat unknowingly got into an arm bush and came under heavy fire. The boat as stated above was carrying civilians, mostly children and women going to their destinations via Old Fangak. One (1) person was seriously wounded and died before reaching Phom where he could receive medical attention. When the boat came under heavy gun fire from the attackers, the helpless civilians had no option but to throw themselves into the river for one dear life.
As a result, children as well as elderly people got drowned in the river since they were unable to swim because of the unceasing heavy gun fire, throwing them into the state of fear and panic. Four (4) corpses were found yesterday evening floating on the Pow River, the dead toll as of today is to totaling to 5, and a search team had been dispatched by the commissioner of the County, James Maluit. The death toll could rise up since many who have gone missing since the day of the incident are still unaccounted for till now. It goes without informing the record that this is not the first time or first attack on civilians; a callous attack which took place in Phom on January 9th this year left more 300 people dead and injured many more.
The recent attack by the rebels belonging to George Athor came months after Athor’s forces had been confronted and ‘crashed’ militarily by the gallant SPLA forces in response to the callous attack on civilians. Known for their hospitality and sense of forgiveness, the people of Fangak have given shelter and accommodation to those internally displaced people from Korway Payam, Dinka Rut despite the January massacre orchestrated by the rebel warlord George Athor. They have provided them with food, shelter and even security for themselves and their cattle. The people of Fangak will continue doing so on humanitarian grounds and on good will!
At this juncture, we would like to strongly condemn this act of targeting our civil population and unleashing fear in them. We wonder why the rebels are or have been terrorizing our civil population for such a long time and whether they are really fighting the government or the civilians. We denounce this act by the rebels. We also condemn anybody who has taken up arms against the government but ended up killing civilians in any part of this country. Why should the rebels turn on the innocent civilians if they claim to have taken up arms in order to liberate them in the first place? Did they take up arms in order to kill the civilians or to ensure they are safe and unharmed?
We in the Fangak Youth Union would like to urge the government of the republic of South Sudan and the gallant SPLA forces to provide adequate security to the people of Fangak County in order to avert situation-like- January 9th. The SPLA forces need to beef up their presence in the County so as to protect the civil populations from the hands of the rebels whose objective is to kill and terrorize people. We do not need further bloodshed after gaining our independence on the July 9th, and especially that a lot of blood had been shed already prior to independence.
Peace, unity, stability, tranquility and harmony should now prevail over tribalism and greed for power!
Forward in peace ever, backward in war never!!!
The information and publicity department, Fangak Youth Union