Joseph Kamilo Napengiro, Budi's former commissioner, relaxes after his release in Juba [©Gurtong]
By Peter Lokale Nakimangole
TORIT, 21st May, 2011 [Gurtong] – Following a month’s detention in 2nd division of Mogiri Military Headquarters in Juba, a former commissioner of Budi County Joseph Kamilo Napengiro was released early this month for allegedly instigating community violence against the SPLA and for sponsoring bandits on highways.
Napengiro claimed that the Eastern Equatoria State Authority accused him to be an agent of rebel George Athor who apparently instigated his community; Buya to fight the SPLA at Kidopo barracks and also involved in sponsorship of local bandits led by James Lokio, the former wildlife officer in the State, to continue ambushing people along Farasika-Chukudum road.
According to him, shortly after the conclusion of a reconciliation meeting on 18th March, 2011 at Kimotong Payam of Budi County between SPLA and Buya community who previously clashed at Kidopo, he was surprisingly picked up by the State Governor.
“I was innocently ordered to surrender my gun and board an SPLA armed vehicle, vulnerably I did not have any option than to accept the order and was taken straight away to Juba for confinement at Mogiri,” Napengiro stated.
He explained that before he was released over the Kidopo’s incident allegations that took place on 9th of March, 2011 at Kidopo forest, he underwent thorough investigations by military intelligence.
Some officials suspiciously blamed Napengiro for deciding to reside at his own village after his dismissal. This they said prompted doubts from the public as the planned incidences associated with passengers’ robbery and the killings at Farasika-Chukudum highway continued happening.
As usual, they said, the dismissed or relieved commissioner should occupy his County commissioner’s residence for at least 3 months which Napengiro dint hence raising suspicions.
After repeated denial over any political connections leading to the conflict between the army and cattle herders, Napengiro narrated that the clash between the two parties occurred because one of the SPLA soldiers was killed by a criminal while collecting local building materials.
Napengiro said that instead of pursuing the killer solely, the barracks commander straightaway gave an order to the soldiers to attack Buya’s cattle kraals at 4:00 am at a distance of about 5 kilometres away from the barracks leaving a woman dead with her baby being wounded, two youths killed, wounding 7 locals with 230 cattle killed in the ambush.
The Kraals’ chief, Mr. Lokwale Lolipe revealed that some SPLA soldiers got killed while others wounded during the clash but claimed he dint know the exact atrocities.
The former commissioner narrated that Farasika-Chukudum road incidents did not only happen during his time but even during past successive commissioners leadership, citing Flex Oking Lukaluka, Simon Oreste Lopara, and Fr. Maurice Loguti.
“Unknown criminals kept ambushing and robbing passengers on the same highway. But then it has been all labelled to be me?” Napengiro decried.
Napengiro who described the findings as ‘political power wrangles’ lamented “All these allegations have been disapproved by 2nd division military intelligence after extensive investigations carried out for the whole month of April, 2011. After gathering all the facts, the board of military inquiry committee headed by a military judge interrogated me and I was found innocent.”
He confirmed to Gurtong by presenting a release document by 2nd division, led by Major General Augustino Jadalla.
Following his appointment to the position of commissionership for the first time on the 15th June, 2010, Napengiro, the 37 years old, maintained the seat until 16th December last year when he was dismissed through a Governor’s decree.
He told Gurtong that the State Governor, Hon. Lobong summoned him to his palace on December 16th, 2010 at 8.00 pm in Torit and exclusively revealed to him that his Budi community leaders had protested for his urgent removal while accusing him of being an anti-2011 referendum.
Governor Lobong confessed that according to the community leaders, if he continued to remain in power, the conduct of 2011 referendum would be compromised. Napengiro revealed that even after persuading the Governor to form a committee to investigate the case in a bid to establish findings, his efforts were futile hence losing his seat.
Napengiro, who is still in Juba, promised to return to his State as soon as he completes personal errands then would meet the Governor to present a copy of his release.