Rumbek Residents Wary of Impending Disarmament

The announcement that a disarmament exercise will be conducted in Lakes State has been received with mixed reactions.

Rumbek Residents Wary of Impending Disarmament

By Gabriel Mayom
RUMBEK, 11 August 2011 (Gurtong) – Most residents interviewed by Gurtong in the state capital Rumbek welcomed the move, saying it will help in addressing the rampant insecurity in the highly volatile state.

However, some residents, especially the elderly, have expressed concerns with the likelihood of power abuse by the soldiers identified for the security operation in the state’s eight counties.

A Rumbek resident, Michael Awan Magal, told Gurtong that some of the soldiers designated to carry out the exercise might misuse their mandate to engage in selling illegal guns to the residents.

“I have no confidence in the army because some of them are not loyal to their high command and might collide with a section of the residents, mostly cattle keepers, to arm them. I also don’t trust the chiefs and some government officials who may compromise their kinsmen by keeping their guns only to re-arm them after the exercise”, he said.

He said that such loopholes will only contribute to insecurity, hence rendering the exercise insignificant.

“I urge the army commanders who are going to conduct the disarmament to embrace patriotism for the sake of improving security in Lakes State. I also urge the highest authorities to look into the soldiers’ pay since poor remuneration is the biggest contributor to the illegal trade in guns”, said Magal.

A student at Rumbek Senior Secondary School student Mapuor Malieny appealed to the Lakes State government to offer the state residents sufficient protection during the exercise.

“I think disarmament is much needed at this time when we have a new country that needs development. The youth should be disarmed, but in the right way to avoid any clashes”, he said.

The Rumbek Central County Commissioner Matur Majok Magol expressed confidence that the exercise will proceed smoothly, saying adequate security measures have been put in place to guard against any conflicts.

He at the same time urged the state residents to surrender illegal weapons before the disarmament commences.


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