More arms collected in Lakes State

19 Oct 2011

More arms collected in Lakes State

18 October 2011 - An additional 300 arms collected during ongoing civilian disarmament in Unity State were loaded today into trucks at Freedom Square in Rumbek for transportation to the South Sudanese capital of Juba.

In September, over 1,600 guns were collected from civilians in the state.

Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) Major General Marial Chanuong said that 368 rifles had been collected from Rumbek North, Rumbek Centre, Rumbek East and Wulu counties.

"We brought them here to (display) them to (Governor Chol Tong) and the entire community of Lakes State," said Maj. Gen. Chanuong. The arms will be stored at the SPLA military barracks in Juba.

Lakes State Governor Chol Tong Mayay urged state communities to continue surrendering their weapons and cautioned civilians tempted to keep them that they would suffer the full extent of the law.

"What was collected is here and will be loaded and will be taken to Juba," said the Governor. "People are here to witness so that anyone who again gets a rifle, then he will tell us where he got it. It will not be said again that it is the army who sold it (to them)."

Civilian disarmament began in Unity State's Pariang and Mayom counties on 15 October, despite road access problems, land mines and threats from rebel militia groups.

"I have received a text message from some militias warning me not to hand in my gun," said resident Peter Arop Kuol, adding that he was happy about the disarmament exercise.

State Minister of Information and Communications Gideon Gatpan Thoar said that over 450 arms had been recovered from residents, 347 of which were from Mayon County.

"The ongoing disarmament is voluntary and peaceful," Minister Thoar said. "The people are willingly handing in their weapons despite threats from militias in Mayom"

The collected arms are currently in the custody of South Sudan Police Services in the state.