By Mabior Philip www.borglobe.com
Juba (Borglobe)...at least 16 were confirmed dead, seven wounded, and 3 others went missing in the wake of a fresh disarmament exercise last week in Jonglei’s Akobo County , in which 240 illicit riffles were collected from the civilians.
In a press briefing yesterday at the Minister of Information’s regular forum, the official spokesperson of , Kuol Deim Kuol, said eleven of the deceased were SPLA soldiers and the five were civilians. The missing three are considered dead, he said.
Multiple disarmament exercises have been going on in the state since 2006. The fresh exercise is being conducted at Keikwin, a village between Akobo and Waat in the state, where armed youths fled the area for Ethiopia in protest of the disarmament early this year.
Kuol said the SPLA’s disarming forces, having been resisted in the process, withdrew to Walgak for reinforcement.
Disarmament is equally being carried out in Unity, Warrap, and Lakes states ahead of a sensitive 2011 vote that will split the already volatile Sudan into two.
Despite the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement five years ago, the situation remained tense and volatile in Southern Sudan due to presence of illicit arms at the disposal of the civilians.
According to Community Security and Small Arms Control, at least 1,800 people were killed, 280 wounded and 340 abducted in armed skirmishes last year.
South Sudan , having just emerged from one of the complicated elections in the country, is gearing up for an independence vote slated for January next year.
Analysts warn that the vote may be derailed unless the government of the south comes to its heel to settle armed cattle rustling and rebellions.