Home | News    Wednesday 22 September 2010

Grenade explosion kills 8 people in Northern Bahr el Ghazal


September 21, 2010 (MALAKAL) - At least eight people have been confirmed dead in the southern state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, following an explosion of a hand grenade at a playing ground in Aweil East County.

A picture showing a grenade explosion (garrysmod.org)

The explosion which occurred on Sunday 19 at night in an area called Ajoklual in Manyiel Payam has left 17 others with severe injuries, most of whom are children and innocent civilians who could not escape the tragedy. Lieutenant General Kuol Deim Kuol, official spokesman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), told Sudan Tribune from Juba on Tuesday that the grenade was held by one of the SPLA soldiers in the area who went to the playing ground with it without intention [to harm].

"Two of the SPLA soldiers in the area went to playing ground. One of them had a hand held grenade. They stood in an isolated area by the side of a playing ground as spectators, and while standing watching local dance, a group of the newly initiated young men in the area, known as Aparak in Dinka Malual Gier Nyang, passed along the area in which the two soldiers were standing and started asking who ’smells like boys’. The soldiers politely told them there were no boys with them and added they were soldiers on a mission. We do not have boys. We are grown up adults;" General Kuol said the locals quoted the two soldiers as saying.

"But, the newly initiated young men viewed it differently and took it the traditional way which regards any male without traditional mark as boy, regardless of age. It was through such argument and exchange of unnecessary words that they came into contact with the arm [grenade]which unfortunately exploded during the struggle between the two sides," explained General Kuol.

The senior military officer said the explosion killed six people on spot and later claimed lives of two other civilians who sustained severe injuries at the time and who were on their way to the local hospital, making the number of the deceased 8 in total.

"That means there are six deaths on civilians’ side and two from the army. These two soldiers included the owner of the grenade and his colleague who was standing with him,” he said.

He defended blames why the soldiers went to the playing ground with the grenade. “Our forces are on maximum alert. They are on standby for any eventualities and that each of the soldier; especially those at the flash points are instructed never to apart with their arms but should hold them in responsible manner while interacting with civilians,” explained the General.

"And of course one can not blame this incident on the army because it was not initiated by the soldiers. They neither threatened the youth nor did they intend to interrupt their activities, they were part of onlookers without ill intentions," he explained.

Bona Makuac Mawien, the state minister of Information and Communications, earlier on Monday confirmed the death of 8 people and injury of 17 people to Sudan Tribune by phone from Aweil town, capital of Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

"Yes, 8 people have died and 17 others are wounded. Some of them have serious injuries. They include children. The children are now admitted at a health facility run by doctors without borders; MSF-France in Aweil town. Adults are in Aweil civil hospital, explained minister Mawien.

While the two expressed identical concerns, they condemned the youth for provoking the explosion. “People should not play with power. They need to approach it responsibly and in an orderly manner, said General Kuol," adding, “what the youth have done is regrettable and a fact finding investigation should be conducted by the relevant authorities".

Northern Bahr el Ghazal is one of the Southern states which has not experienced no inter-communal conflicts within her territory. It shares border with Warrap to the east, Western Bahr el Ghazal to the South east and south Darfur to the west and Southern Kordofan to the north.


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  • 22 September 2010 03:43, by Ahmed Chol

    The remnants of those youth need to be sought and taught a rough and tough lesson.

    Ahmed Chol, future commander of Anya nya III

    • 22 September 2010 05:41, by Grader

      I agree

      but we need to find out is why the soldier/s went out with a grenade and not a rifle?

      It is a lesson for both the so called "initiated youth", soldiers and all of us to learn from

      RIP all deceased in the incident

      • 22 September 2010 05:49, by Abuk D- Nhial

        Bad remark on both sides of Cattle keepers and soldiers. But at lease, Kuol should know that there is different between educated and uneducated person. This mean if soldiers are trained, they are considered as educated and literate, then they should not compete with illiterate persons on any basis which reach the extended explosion. Now who to blame on that suicide?

        Arms should be given to a well trained person who never easily burse in to that temper of mishandling them, they are dangerous too as I could read about them. Cattle keepers are also very foolish to be always proud of their guards (soldiers) to disregard them as boys, but what is the badness of being called “boy’? If you called old man ‘boy’ in Western countries, he even feels happy and can appreciate you very happily. Please, stop the primitive culture!

        Government should render any little assistance to the families of deceased ones.

        Bad luck.

    • 22 September 2010 08:11, by Mike Mike

      The authorities of Aweil must have to explain this incident to the government of South Sudan of why the young men are still being initiated meanwhile it was been prohibted since 1990s when the schools were opened in the South?. In counties of Aweil West and North there is nothing of that kind only i do hear it was been happening in Aweil East and South Counties of which such a habite is not fair to be encurage now among the communities since the old system is not longer in place now. They parents of those initiated youth must have to compensate those soldiers and they should also has to be jail for some time such that the remaining youth will not attempt next time to be initiated again otherwise if the government don’t wake up and open up her eyes then these communities will one day may be causing terrible war within the community in the time to come.

    • 22 September 2010 08:39, by Mark Omina

      It is very regretable to lose civilians in the hands of such a reckless soldiers when they are performing their traditional practices, South Sudan is rich in culture and tradition which we don’t want to lose.

      I don’t a gree we the defence mechanism put by the spokes person, honestly speaking soldiers are to protect civilians and for sure the hand granade was purposely detonated to harm the civilians in pretext of self defence. May God rest the souls of those who died in cold blood.

      • 22 September 2010 23:34, by Tongthok

        Hi Mark Omina,

        I absolutely agree with you that hand grenade shouldn’t be use on those poor civilians. I suggest those two soldiers should have just left and come back with the police take those initiated guys to jail instead of killing them with bystanders. This could be a lesson they should learn that our today world’s people aren’t all initiated.

        With this incident, I suggest the government of South Sudan need to do something about it either to banned initiations for good or teach these poor civilians about change.These kind of practices need immediate debate to end it or practice it in a good manners that wouldn’t cost lives any more.

        May God bless the souls of those innocents civilians who were killed knowing nothing as their lives were limit by supprise.


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