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Five dead in Unity State land mine blast

Bonifacio Taban
Two explosions killed five people and injured 21 in Unity State when vehicles struck land mines near Mayom and Rubkotna Counties.
26.08.2011  |  Bentiu
South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar (center) with Unity State Governor Taban Deng Gai (right).
South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar (center) with Unity State Governor Taban Deng Gai (right).

Despite warning signs, mine accidents occur frequently in South Sudan.
An eyewitness said one vehicle slammed into a land mine about 20 km from Rubkotna County on Saturday, leaving three dead and 15 seriously injured.  

Separately, state government spokesman Gideon Gatpan Thoar confirmed that a bus carrying 12 passengers from Bentiu to Nhialdiu in Rubkotna County hit a minefield on Sunday, killing two and injuring six.
Thoar said the suspects are from groups loyal to James Gai Yoach, who is accused of working closely with the northern Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in the past. The Unity State government has linked previous atrocities in the area to Gai Yoach.

Unity State Governor Taban Deng Gai described the acts as a crime against humanity,” adding that Gai Yoach has repeatedly broken promises to implement peace agreements.

Read also: Land mines injure three in Unity State” by Bonifacio Taban.
Governor Deng said one of the victims killed in Sunday’s incident included a nephew of Gai Yoach.

During a visit to Unity State, South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar told church congregations on Sunday to act as agents of peace in the new republic.
Machar accused rebel groups of threatening the lives of innocent civilians. Our problem as people of Unity State must be solved by all of us,” he said.  

He also welcomed the recent move of former rebel leader Peter Gatdet to accept the amnesty offered by President Salva Kiir in exchange for the disarmament of the breakaway South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA).