JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN — Officials in Jonglei state are calling for a prison to be built in Nyirol county, and for police patrols in rural areas to be stepped up after several people were killed over the past week, including four in an apparent revenge attack for a decade-old murder.
Khor Huow Gal, who represents Nyirol South constituency in the Jonglei state assembly, said police have arrested three people in connection with the killings at the weekend.
One of those arrested is alleged to have led the attack in the Lou Nuer area of Nyirol county that claimed the lives of four people, to avenge the death of his brother, who was killed in 2002. In the 11 years since then, no one has been arrested or charged in the case.
Gal said he and other officials have asked "the international community, the state government, even the national government that you build a prison" in the Lou Nuer area of the county, saying it would improve security.
"These people who are killing people are bad guys who are supposed to be behind bars, but they are not jailed because there is no jail in Lou area," he said, lamenting the fact that "criminals are just roaming around."
In a separate incident near the state capital, Bor, locals reacted to the killing last week of a man and the abduction of his daughters by laying ambushes along the main road, and killing a man they suspected of being involved in the attack on the family, Philip Thon Nyok, who represents Bor in the state assembly, said.
But the man who was killed in the ambush was "innocent about what is happening," Nyok said.
"When he approached those people, the people saw him as if he was coming with a lot of people because at night you cannot differentiate whether it is a tree or it is what. So they shot that person and he was killed.”
Villagers who were allegedly involved in the shooting are being questioned by police, he said, adding that many of villagers had left their rural homes and migrated to urban areas, like Bor, to flee insecurity in rural parts of Jonglei state.
“Those people who settled around the town are those who ran away from far villages because abductions of children and the night killing of people in the place of sleeping are happening in the villages," Nyok said.
"So... people just strolled to the area near Bor town and they just settled where there are no roads. It is still bush. And that is where they are still being ambushed,” he said, urging local and state government officials to deploy police in rural areas to protect residents from attackers.