Lakes State map/Photo by Wikipedia

Police powerless to arrest heavily armed youth in South Sudan’s Lakes States

By Awan Achiek

The proliferation of firearms in the hands of civilians makes it difficult for police to intervene and restore security in South Sudan’s Lakes State, police spokesman said on Monday.

“If someone commits a crime and runs to the cattle camp where there is huge a number of armed youth. The Police find it hard to go and apprehend the culprits because armed youth are possessing more firearms than the police which they use to defend themselves,” Lakes State Police spokesperson, Captain Elijah Mabor Makuach told Juba Echo reporter in Juba.

In the wake of several deadly massive killing of civilians in Lakes, Captain Mabor called on the national government to remove illegal weapons from the hands of armed youth in a bid to reduce gun-related violence which left over 105 dead since February.

“One of the solutions is comprehensive disarmament. If the civilians are disarmed, the police will be in a position to arrest and enforce law and order in the state,” Makuach said.

He called on the national government to deploy more police officers to help mitigate rampant communal violence.

“The number of armed youth all over the state is more than the police. If you compare the number of police or law enforcement agencies in the state, you will find out that the armed youth are more than law enforcement agency,” he said.

Since the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in 2018, United Nations and other international agencies have reported a rise in ethnic and sub-national violence, amid a decline in political conflicts in the country with Lakes state, Warrap, and Jonglei being hot spots for those kinds of violence.

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