Disarmament committees in Warrap State say they have peacefully collected more than 600 firearms from civilian hands since August.
In June, security committees which included former county commissioners were dispatched to Tonj North and Tonj South counties to stabilize insecurity and mobilize locals to peacefully surrender their guns before a forceful disarmament kicks-off.
The former commissioner of Manaloor County Paul Mangong, also a member of the security committee sent to Tonj North told Radio Tamazuj on Monday that they had collected 132 firearms from his Payam and 441 guns from eight other payams since August.
“Our committee was divided into three zones and the full report that I have received from 9 payams, the total reports of guns collected were 573 since August,” he said.
He added, “According to the total number of guns we have collected, we as their former commissioners know if they don’t hand over peacefully, we will carry out forceful disarmament.”
Mangong pointed out that six suspects have been arrested in connection with intercommunal clashes in five payams of Tonj North County since January 2020.
For his part, Makuer Tiau Anyuon, Tonj South County Committee spokesperson confirmed to Radio Tamazuj in a separate interview that they collected some guns from three payams of the county.
“81 guns have been collected from three payams and these guns were given to the disarmament team. There was no resistance because the civilians are the ones bringing guns on their own,” he said.
Tiau further claimed that some youth might have sold their guns to neighboring counties or hid them after the disarmament exercise started. He added that the team is yet to move to Manyangngok and Jak payams.
More than 100 people were killed in July when clashes erupted between the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces and armed youth near Tonj town prompting the start of the disarmament exercise in Warrap State and neighboring areas.