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Activist doubts disarmament soldiers are neutral

Author: Diana John | Published: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

SSPDF soldiers pose for a photograph | File photo

A civil society activist in Lakes State has raised concerns over the suspected lack of neutrality in the disarmament force that has been deployed in the area.

There are reports of fighting between armed civilians and organized forces in areas where the disarmament is taking place.

Such clashes have been reported in Warrap where dozens of people, including security personnel, have died.

The leader of the coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Lakes State, Daniel Laat, believes the disarmament forces may have been compromised by communal interests.

The activist is urging the SSPDF General headquarters to recall the soldiers who are currently removing guns from the hands of civilians.

“When the forces go to the ground, they use the same security personnel who are involved in the issue, such as the police officers accused of human rights violations,” Daniel Laat told Eye Radio on Monday.

He expressed fears of heightened fighting over the disarmament exercise, if the forces take sides.

Last week, an advocacy group called on the government to provide security first so that civilians can voluntarily hand over their guns to the disarmament forces.

The South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms said no community should be left vulnerable to attacks by the failure to disarm their neighbors.

It recommends the destruction of arms and ammunition collected from the communities to avoid the reflow to the villages.

The organization also said the local people wants the government to stop the main sources of arms that spills in to their communities.

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