The recently arrived Regional Protection Force (RPF) will help secure civilians along major highways in South Sudan in the wake of deadly killings and ambushes by armed groups, the UN mission said. Picture: Xinhua/Denis Elamu
The recently arrived Regional Protection Force (RPF) will help secure civilians along major highways in South Sudan in the wake of deadly killings and ambushes by armed groups, the UN mission said. Picture: Xinhua/Denis Elamu

South Sudan civilians pay police for protection

By Denis Dumo Time of article published Sep 21, 2017

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Juba - Residents of South Sudan's capital

say they are collecting cash to pay police unofficially to

patrol their neighbourhoods, amid a crime wave and a cash crunch

that means authorities often cannot pay their wages.

Robbers killed more than 60 people last month in Juba, twice

as many as in July, according to the Community Empowerment of

Progress Organisation, a civil society organisation in Juba that

tallies violent incidents.

In one incident this month, around 50 gunmen in army

uniforms attacked homes. Armed residents repulsed them and there

were no known casualties, the organisation said. It was unclear

whether the attackers were members of the security forces.

Edmund Yakani, head of the Progress Organisation, said

security was improving in some areas since communities began

collecting cash to pay for police patrols.

South Sudan's nearly four-year-old civil war has slashed oil

production and the cash-strapped government struggles to pay

security forces. 

It has asked foreign donors for help, but the

request is unlikely to be granted since rights groups accuse

security forces of torturing, raping and killing civilians.

The war has displaced a third of the East African nation's

12 million people and spilt into neighbouring states.

At a community meeting last week in the Juba neighbourhood

of Kator East, dozens of residents each agreed to give 100 South

Sudanese pounds (about R200) to hire police to join youth

volunteers in patrolling, said Lucy Ramada, 38.

"Every household was asked to contribute ... for the payment

of extra police personnel that will assist our youth at night,"

she said. Since the patrols began with the paid police, she

added, "there is no sound of gunfire and no robberies".

Police spokesperson Daniel Boulogne said he was unaware of

residents offering police extra pay. A South Sudanese police

officer is paid about 1 500 South Sudanese pounds (about R3000) on average,

about $83 at the current exchange rate.

"We have not asked for any (extra) incentives because it is

our duty to do our best to give them security," he said. He did

not comment on police wages.

Monthly inflation has reached triple digits, and the

scramble for food forces many people into crime, said James

Okuk, a lecturer at Juba University.

"The situation is forcing people to become robbers," he

said. "The situation has been made worse by the government not

paying salaries to its employees, including those carrying guns,

for some months."

Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk told Reuters that some

members of the army and police were under investigation for

robbery but the number was small.

Reuters

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