December 22, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s army has announced arresting a number of police officers who were responsible for recent killing of ten civilians in the Western Bahr el Ghazal’s capital, Wau.
- Residents of Wau, Western Bahr El-Ghazal, taking shelter in UNMISS compound after fleeing violence on 19 December. (Photo UNMISS)
The team led by the SPLA’s spokesperson, Philip Aguer, on Saturday while in Wau in a televised statement said the two police personnel wore SPLA uniforms when they committed the crime.
Ten civilians were shot dead last week in the town while protesting against the state government’s decision to transfer Wau county headquarters to Baggari area about twenty kilometres outside the state capital.
Philip Aguer said the two police officers, Mohamed Ahmed and Gabriel Omdurman, unfortunately decided to side against the protest violently, removed their police uniforms and instead wore SPLA uniforms and shot the protestors indiscriminately.
The SPLA infantry Division Five commander in charge of Western Bahr el Ghazal state, Maj. General Chuol Thoan, criticized those who always wanted to tarnish the good name of the SPLA. He said he wondered why the two police officers chose to put on SPLA uniform in order to shoot their own people in the name of SPLA.
Major General Chuol further explained that the SPLA forces did not take part in the Wau incident as they were far in their barracks, adding that it was the police that controlled the whole situation.
While pointing at the arrested police 1st Lt. Mohamed Ahmed, the SPLA commander Chuol said "this one has shot [dead] six civilians and the other one [Gabriel Omdurman] has shot three others."
They have turned the protest into tribal violence and took sides by shooting at the protestors, he said, who were predominantly of Balanda ethnic group. Commander Chuol did not however indicate from which ethnic groups in Western Bahr el Ghazal were the two accused police officers.
He commended his soldiers who immediately identified the two police officers after opening fire at the protestors, saying that led to their arrest.
Following the deadly protest, many civilians from the Balabda sought refuge at the UN compound in Wau fearing attacks.
UNMISS reported on its website that one of its patrols visited on 21 December a settlement outside Wau in Bussere to verify rumours that thousands people were displaced there but found no evidence confirming the allegation.