AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Violence in Wau: suspicions on the army but the government accuses a new Islamist formation

Thursday, 30 June 2016 massacres  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - At least 50 people died and several thousand displaced is the toll of a wave of violence which took place on June 25 in Wau, a town 650 km north-west from Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The government accused an unspecified "Islamic movement, of recent formation" as responsible for the attacks against the civilian population. According to the authorities in Juba the Islamist formation is made up of South Sudanese army deserters, fighters of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA, a group of Ugandan origin that now acts in South Sudan, DRC and Central Africa) and members of Sudanese Janjaweed militia.
Mgr. Rocco Taban Musa, Apostolic Administrator of Malakal and originally from Wau, accuses the government of Juba of instigating the violence, after the removal of the Governor, General Elias Waya, who according to Mgr. Taban, was able to mediate among the different components of local society. His replacement has instead stirred up tribal clashes. Different ethnic groups live in Wau: Balanda, Dinka, Jur, Fertit and others.
According to the local Caritas, thousands of people are welcomed in Church structures in Wau and at the local base of the UN "Blue Helmets". According to the head of Caritas in Wau, the population does not feel confident in returning to their homes, despite the army is patrolling the streets, "they do not trust the military because they say it is the army that killed civilians".
The South Sudan Council of Churches (the body which brings together Christian denominations in the Country) has appealed to the government to put an end to the fighting and lead an investigation into the violences that have invested Wau and other parts of the Country. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/06/2016)