On 18th of August that's when I was shot and so was a pregnant woman sitting next to me. She died. I was just sitting with my children in Tuoch Lual. We heard gunshots. We didn't leave where we were sitting because we thought they were going to Adok [to the east]. Then they came through an island called Tuoch Kuachcaar to another place called Tuoch Duot. We still just stayed conversing, but then they crossed the last river to the island we were at. We looked and saw there were 30 people and we started running.

They came in a wide line across the island. They were telling us, "Stop! Stop! Where are you going?" But they continued shooting. There were many people going one way so I tried to go a different direction. I was still running when I was shot while entering the papyrus. 

A soldier was following us through the papyrus. He was shooting while swinging the barrel of the gun side to side, telling people "Stop!" He was the one who shot me and killed the woman. He was young. He was wearing a necklace with red and black beads. He wasn't wearing a uniform, it was sport clothing, black. It was written "Mayom County."

He found me and pointed his gun at me and said, "Who are you?" I said, "I'm someone who is shot!" He told the woman next to me, "You stand up!" and I told him she's shot and she's dead. He said to me, "You lie down!" and then he grabbed a different woman. But when he saw the first woman was killed he let the other one go.

My leg couldn't move. It was bleeding. It was painful on my thigh, even in water. I tied my leg myself using my vest to stop the bleeding.

Some old men found me because they heard I was shot and they were calling my name and they took me out to where we were staying. I was told by the people on that island that my daughter was taken. She is 14 years old. When I asked where my wife was they said she had gone after her. My wife later came back and had been beaten. I heard that my daughter escaped after two days and made it to the UN in Bentiu [in the north of Unity State]. I don't know what happened to her in those two days. The next day I went to Kok [another island] to find treatment and then I came to Nyal.

I had 10 tukuls [houses] in Leer and they were all burned. 63 cows all were taken. 6 goats. I owned a pharmacy in Leer even that was destroyed.

Is there peace? The peace deal was signed by Riek Machar on August 17 and the next day I was shot. The day Salva Kiir signed [on August 26] was the day I arrived here. I think those who go to Addis Ababa for peace don't take these things seriously. You people from the West should be committed to what is happening in South Sudan. You can put this peace as first priority.

By Jason Patinkin

Published on 21st October 2015