A health centre was burnt to ashes by armed youth allegedly from Mvolo County in Western Equatoria State.
The attack early on Friday morning, April 5, was described as barbaric” by Chadarck Bol Machok, a member of Lakes State Legislative Assembly representing Makundi and Domoloto payams of Wulu County.
The clinic was burnt to ashes,” he said, adding that the building erected by Save the Children was set ablaze in the early hours of the morning.
This is the only clinic serving over 15,000 people from many villages.”
This is a great loss to the population of Bidibadai Boma. They can no longer access health services since this is the only clinic serving over 15,000 people from many villages.”
He linked the arson attack to escalating tensions over land disputes between Lakes State and Western Equatoria State residents.
The commissioner of Wulu County Ezekiel Thiang Mangar accused people from Mvolo County for burning a public building that saves thousands of lives. No official from Mvolo County was immediately available for comment.
Land disputes are frequent in South Sudan: Thousands of people have been killed over land disputes since a key peace agreement was signed in 2005.
Machok said that the land of Bidibadai Boma is claimed by residents from both Western Equatoria State and Lakes State citizens of Makundi Payam.
We are not in position to determine the internal borders now, we need our borders to be delimited first between South Sudan and Sudan,” Machok said.
Machok further said that the former commissioner of Mvolo County planned the construction of a primary school last year in Bidibadai Boma. His intention was to annex Bidibadai Boma to Western Equatoria State.”
The construction of the school sparked resistance from residents of Makundi Payam last year, he said.
Fighting broke out between the communities of Lakes State and Western Equatoria State in 2012 over the intention to annex this place to Mvolo.
Communities around here will face lot of health problems due to the burning of the centre.”
Machok called the government of Lakes State and Western Equatoria State to intervene to facilitate peace and reconciliation between the two communities.
He claimed that drugs that were supplied to Bidibadai Primary Health Care Unit (PHCU) for three months from April up to June when malaria cases doubled in South Sudan. Communities around here will face lot of health problems due to the burning of the centre,” he warned.
He urged locals not to avenge the attack, saying they should wait for the government investigation.
He said the residents of Makundi Payam with residents of Kakor Payam are one ethnic group but are split administratively and politically into two separate groups.