Jonglei Denay Chagor and his Central Equatoria State counterpart Emmanuel Adil clashed over who takes responsibility for the growing insecurity in the bordering areas of the two countries.
Adil argued that besides the insecurity threat posed by the National Salvation Front (NAS), Jonglei State cattle herders have also contributed immensely to the rot in the state’s insecurity and instability.
The two governors made the statement in a separate press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing Sixth Governors Forum in Juba on Thursday.
“Not the people of Jonglei [but cattle herders…some of them have come here, but, [again] not all of them perpetrate crimes and havoc. We have a lot of lives that are lost,” Adil said.
But Adil’s statement did not sit well with Chagor. The Jonglei boss rebutted the allegations an apparent attempt to delink his administration from the insecurity woes.
Chagor demanded that Adil produce evidence linking the herders to the CES insecurity, noting that the problem existed prior to the cases of cattle herders arriving in the state.
“I do not necessarily agree with that because there has been looting, killing, and stopping vehicles on the road; these are criminals, and for somebody to say that any criminal along that area is a cattle keeper from Jonglei; what evidence do we have?” he argued.
“In Jonglei, we are calling all our people to come back from Central Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria, but how long have we been dealing with issues between Juba and Nimule, where vehicles are being attacked by [criminal] armed groups, Are these people from Jonglei?” he posed.
But Adil clarified that his claim was pointing to the 2017 Presidential Order, which highlighted Jonglei as one of the states having cattle in Central Equatoria.
On Monday, more than three passengers died and about 22 others sustained injuries in a roadside attack along the Juba-Nimule Road. The incident occurred after nearly a week when a village along the road was attacked and seven people were killed, with several others wounded.
The incident, which has caused panic and fear among travellers on the country’s main lifeline route, marked a series of attacks that have claimed lives, caused loss of property, and displaced the civil population of Central Equatoria State residing along the Juba-Nimule Road.
The forum seeks solutions to the impediments to the overall revitalised peace agreement implementation and, in particular, the roadmap through collective efforts from actors, including state governors.