Refrain from a hasty civilian disarmament, SSANSA.

Aerial view of South Sudan’s capital, Juba, after recent violent conflict, which broke out in 2013 suggests a bounce back after devastation. Picture by Ochan Hannington | 21 Nov 2019

As South Sudan embark on reconstituting the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) Commission, the government is carrying out disarmament of civilians owning unregistered firearms in efforts to curb rampant cattle raids, looting and revenge killings that are believed the main causes of deaths in the world’s youngest country. The exercise, however, is marred with controversies. For example, 20 people died during a disarmament exercise yesterday, after gunfire broke out between disarmament team (in Warrap state) and armed civilians, according to local media reports. Experts describe the activity as “hasty”. The South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms (SSANSA) – a network of civil society organisations working towards reducing and preventing the use of guns and other light weapons during violence has urged the government to refrain from a “hasty civilian disarmament”. Officials advise the programme should be conducted in such a way that it is a process as opposed to an event. The rights group argues consultations with communities should be carried out, first. They want the government to put in place tactical arrangements, too. Or else security arrangements risk failing, which could plunge South Sudanese in mayhem again.

Our reporter, Baria Johnson, brings a sneak peek of SSANSA’s views. Take a listen;