The Governor of the newly created Yei River State has admitted for the first time – since his appointment – the existence of rebellion in his area, correcting the initial description of armed dissident youth as “high way bandits.”
Speaking at a community function, Governor David Moses Lokonga said the presence of armed opposition fighters in the state has caused serious insecurity situation since September this year.
He revealed for the first time that all the counties in Yei state have been affected by the insecurity as clashes have been occurring between government forces and opposition fighters allied to former First Vice President, Riek Machar.
“There is problem in Yei. The problem in Yei is very clear, there is rebellion which has happened in all our counties,” he said, adding that the insecurity started to deteriorate in the state when the July incident happened in Juba between rival forces.
He was speaking at the official launching of his State Coordination Office at Nyakuron Cultural Centre in the national capital, Juba.
The governor urged the youths who have rebelled to lay down their guns and dialogue in order to restore peace in the state.
“Violence cannot be the best to addressing issues. Dialogue is the best way. Through churches, we have these people who are carrying arms to stop fighting and come forward for dialogue. The president is ready. He would listen to anybody with any concern,” Governor Lokonga told the audience which was predominantly members of his ethnic Kakwa and other natives inhabiting the areas falling under the new state.
His admission of the existence of the armed opposition forces in the area contradicted the initial statements by senior government’s political and military officials in Juba who preferred to describe the fighting in the area as being carried out by roadside bandits and people carrying out unlawful acts.
The governor did not however specify the territories being controlled by the opposition fighters in the state.