The war began from the top government when they started fighting in Juba. It came down here fighting between soldiers. But then it became a business: taking cows, abducting women...

I was on Tuoch Riak. Before the signing of the peace they came and spent four days in Thonyoor [a town adjacent to Tuoch Riak]. They came with tanks, land cruisers.

They besieged the island. They were looking for girls and cows. They came in the morning and leave at night. You'd spend all day hiding in the reeds. If the bullet doesn't get you, you are lucky and return to Tuoch Riak and sleep. Then the next day you do it again. Every morning even without warning we'd go into the water. Even prayers were difficult. People were fearing to pray because if you're all in one place they might come.

All places were dangerous. The attacks are not only in Thonyoor. They used to attack Adok, Kuidok, Pilinj. Tuoch Riak was safer because it was surrounded by water and there is thick papyrus.

There are many people who are killed, like a boy called Chuol. An old man moving with me was killed plus my friend, Gatkuoth. Another boy of 19 was taken by ICRC to MSF['s hospital] in Lankien. I saw him shot. They saw him and he tried to run into the papyrus. He was shot through the back and it came out through the right ribcage. I went first and hid. He was running toward me when he was shot. I saw him.

They took many girls and women. Some are still missing. Three daughters from my uncle were taken. They took two days with them and they came back. That was first. The second time the sister to my father was taken, and the wife to my uncle. They spent six days with the soldiers. They were used to carry goods to Leer. They beat my grandma and broke her right arm. They stole 700 SSP [about US$55].

The only solution to this is peace. All this can stop if there is peace. In other parts of the country it seems that peace is beginning to work but here in Leer it is not here. So in Leer the UN needs to come in and stop what is happening. They need to monitor. I believe if the peace comes the justice is done. If people are compensated who lost their cows, who lost their relatives, if those who did the bad things to others were punished, then peace will be very easy.

By Jason Patinkin

Published on 21st October 2015