A number of intellectuals from the community expressed their concern about the ongoing insecurity in the Shilluk Kingdom which has resulted to massive displacement of the population and destruction of their properties in the area. During their meeting on Thursday with the Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the members of the delegation headed by Gabriel Thakuch Deng, who are also members of the SPLM, said a peaceful solution to the conflict is needed.
The intellectuals, who also included former ministers, county commissioners and members of parliament, said they were suspecting some elements of the SPLM-DC of Dr. Lam Akol in causing the insecurity which prompted the forces from the SPLA to intervene.
This has caused massive displacement of Shilluk community and destruction of their properties, the intellectuals lamented. They called on the Government of Southern Sudan to pursue peaceful means and talk to Dr. Lam Akol to reach an understanding with him with the aim to stopping the fighting in the area.
The former Sudan's Foreign Affairs minister and member of the SPLM Liberation Council established his own organization last year after breaking away from the SPLM. He lost the April presidential elections in the South, but his party won most of the parliamentary seats in the Shilluk Kingdom.
However, the intellectuals raised concern that the local Shilluk populations have wrongly perceived the ongoing violence between the armed elements and the SPLA forces as tribally motivated between Dinka and Shilluk, hence it needs to be defused from their minds and prevent any further escalations.
They expressed the importance of inviting the Shilluk King to Juba for consultations with the government on how best to approach the situation and stop the fighting.
A number of villages belonging to the Shilluk community have been destroyed, and their populations fled the areas, displacing residents to Malakal and Kodok, including those from Fashoda, where the Shilluk King resides.
Machar told the community delegation that the government would look into their concern, saying a peaceful approach is the best that should be pursued. He said fighting such a local war with armed elements among the civil population is always destructive because it is difficult to differentiate between the two.
He also added that the South is in a critical period of preparations for the conduct of the referendum, warning that such violence could further destabilize the Shilluk land and spoil the chance of participation by the population in the area.
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