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S. Sudan army jails high ranking officers over rights abuses in Jonglei


August 22, 2013 (JUBA) - A dozen high ranking officers in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) have been jailed over the role troops under their direct command played in the alleged killing of innocent civilians in Jonglei state, a military spokesperson said.

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A Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) soldier stands at attention in Juba (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

The arrests followed claims that the army had been responsible for committing human right abuses in areas in Pibor county.

Brigadier General James Otong is one of the top military officers currently behind bars in response to charges brought against units he commanded while deployed in Pibor county.

There has been mounting domestic and international pressure on both state and central government to take corrective actions after allegations surfaced that the army had been involved in rights abuses in the state.

SPLA spokesman Col. Phillip Aguer said pressure on the government had compelled president Salva Kiir Mayardit to take action.

As head of state, Kirr by virtue becomes the army’s commander-in-chief of the army and the supreme commander of other organised forces who were in the areas where alleged crimes were committed.

“The purpose of the arrests is to promote justice and assist in maintaining good order and discipline in the armed forces, as well as promoting efficiency and effectiveness in the military and strengthen national security:, Aguer said in a statement read on South Sudan Television (SSTV).

It is alleged commanders lost control of their troops, or were unwilling to impose discipline over their men during a military operation to disarm the civilian population in Jonglei’s eastern region, leading to the killing of more than 100, 000 civilians, grave human rights abuses and displacements.

“It is always difficult to carry out an investigation at a time of conflict and to know what units committed the crimes, said Aguer, adding that the army had set up a special undercover team to investigate the allegations.

“It was difficult to find proof. We know that some reports have been released, but who exactly did that was hard to find out”, he said.

Suspects and victims will be interviewed by military prosecutors before the trial. South Sudan has a track record of letting crimes of human right abuse go unpunished, particularly when the military is involved.

The culture of impunity pervades all levels of society and has created an environment prone to human rights abuses because perpetrators do not fear being prosecuted.

Activists and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have repeatedly released reports detailing the killing of members of the Murle ethnic group, while soldiers have also been accused of carrying out rape, a war crime under international law.


The military officer said reporting and investigating crimes in the military differs from civilian communities.

“In the army, crimes committed by soldiers go through the chain of command up to the president, delaying immediate action being taken against the perpetuators. Under the direction of the president, military commanders are responsible for maintaining law and order in the communities over which they have authority, and for maintaining the discipline of the fighting force”, a senior military source on told Sudan Tribune Thursday.

“Reports about crimes by soldiers in active service ultimately goes to their commanders who will subsequently form [an] investigative committee before reaching out to the president with recommendations”, he added.

The official described the Jonglei situation as particularly complex, saying commanders may need specialised investigative assistance from military criminal investigative experts to study the cases.

“When the commander finishes the preliminary inquiry, he must make a decision on how to resolve the case. Unlike civilian communities, where a chief or local judge decides whether or not to initiate charges, in the military, commanders make that decision”, he said.

“The commander could decide that no action at all is warranted or he could take administrative action, such as an admonition or reprimand, or making an adverse comment in performance evaluations, or seeking discharge of the member from the service. The commander also possesses non judicial punishment authority and may also determine that criminal charges are appropriate”, he added.


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  • 23 August 2013 01:47, by Dau-network

    Investigating him/them throughly .

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    • 23 August 2013 05:16, by Naath

      Brother Dau network.Hopeless kiir need to be investigated too,is the one the who order army to kill innocent people in jonglei.foolish uneducated kuol mangar,hopeless gathoth,a librar john Kong nyuony all of them will join Otango or whatever’s in court hearing,because the army follow the order from all those useless leaders.

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      • 23 August 2013 06:59, by Mi diit

        ...a military operation to disarm the civilian population in Jonglei’s eastern region, leading to the killing of more than 100, 000 civilians.... Are you serious Mr. or Mrs. reporter??? The whole Murle population is 170,000 and if 100,000 got killed then only 70,000 remained. Please correct your figures. They are exaggerated! Which means 65% of Murle population got killed.

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        • 23 August 2013 07:02, by Mi diit

          But whether the number was 1,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 doesn’t matter. What matters is that the arrested officers should clearly speak out and reveal that it was incompetent Kiir himself who ordered them to shoot to kill and Murle carrying a gun, like the order of Lakes caretaker governor to shoot and kill any civilian carrying a gun! These two twins are criminals. He did it in Wau too...

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          • 23 August 2013 07:31, by George Bol

            General James Otong Riek is a nuer who has been conducting indirect revenge under his command. He was commanding many militia that came with Gatdet. He must be investigated properly for the crime. He even distribute bullets to Lou Nuer twice.Sorry for poor guy

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            • 24 August 2013 08:19, by Diu Tut Deng

              Gorden Bol, let say Otong was conducting revenge in Pibor County as you said, you and your uncle kiir known this before Murle got finished why were you silent since if you are not behind the killing(genocide)?UN are not fool they are just collecting views they know all these mess done by C IN c of the SPLA who declared war on Yau Yau.

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            • 24 August 2013 08:30, by Diu Tut Deng

              George Bol, reduce you happiness, take the model of Iraq and Sudan, the Genocide committed by Iraq army on Kudrus tribe in I kurdus region was not counted to the army commanders it caught the neck of Sadam Hussien, and the Sudan genocide done the sudanese army on Darfur region is almost to cut the Omar al Bashir ’s neck off.

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      • 23 August 2013 09:23, by Adok Wolu

        General Otong must break silent since he was order by incompetent Kiir to kill those civilian in Pibor, Kiir must rethink to evaluate his failed leadership, he allowed himself to be c in c of the army and must admit his faults, given the fact that, he will one day stand before the court and remain nervous like fish out of water.

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      • 23 August 2013 15:11, by Bungachier 50

        Dear All,
        Kindly ask Sudan Tribune whether this is the only Photograph of South Sudan Army (SPLA) that they have. This is the second time this picture has been used. ST! Your workers are becoming Three lazy and incompitant.It’s a Shame!...

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    • 23 August 2013 07:49, by biarawieu

      No problem I am just waiting for the day yau yau will be brought to justice.

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    • 23 August 2013 07:49, by biarawieu

      No problem I am just waiting for the day yau yau will be brought to justice.

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  • 23 August 2013 03:31, by Malakal county Simon

    Special thanks to splm general chief of staff, for taking creditable action. In South Sudan those who work outside the law, must face the law if we want this country to be discipline and move forward.

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  • 23 August 2013 03:42, by Malakal county Simon

    Let general otong and the rest, face justice. For not being discipline and directly involving of killing innocents civilian, under the pretext of disarmament.

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    • 23 August 2013 06:03, by Naath

      Malakal,the order come from president kiir to kill innocent people in jonglei state.Remember president kiir said if Murle are still threatening the SPLM army then kill them,he said again Murle community will be wipe out if they are still kidnapping others people children.than if you’re army officer you have to follow the order otherwise you will be dismissed from your job,what do you think.

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  • 23 August 2013 07:26, by Big Boy

    Dear Guys
    Please looooooooop me on the pic...who’s this high rank officer name ?

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    • 23 August 2013 07:33, by George Bol

      Big Boy,
      His name is general James Otong Riek. Actually, not Otong but Dong for FYI

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      • 23 August 2013 07:55, by Big Boy

        Thank Geroge Decent,law-abiding army deserve to be reassured that the criminal justice system is better equipped than ever before to protect their right to follow their army in safety, whilst armies, military and communities should know that harassment and abuse against them will not be tolerated....

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    • 23 August 2013 08:12, by Gäär

      His full name is Gen. Otong Riak Manguel Bongbaar. A cannibal from Bhar El Ghazal. He was deployed there last year by illiterate Kiir to cause havoc and carryout careless killings on Murle, Lou Nuer and Dinka Bor.

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  • 23 August 2013 08:00, by Moses Kuocgoor

    I don’t trust this media ( so call Sudan tribune). This media exaggerates news in south Sudan. I know this media is enemy of south Sudan. In fact, I don’t blame this media because it does not belong to the south Sudan. When it comes to our turn we will chase it to north Sudan. We are independent nation of which we can have our own media we trust.

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  • 23 August 2013 08:25, by Agutthon

    These arrests are absolute nonsense. The government sends conflicting signals by maintaining misguided amnesty to Yau Yau while arresting its officers who are protecting it from savages.You cannot please international community by laying down your lives on the altar. Shame on those who arrest the army officers.

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  • 23 August 2013 08:39, by Guandong

    Brig.Otong was given an order by Kiir to carry out his duty sucesfully against Murlei as they were being supplyed by Arab. there is no thing wrong with Otong.

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  • 23 August 2013 08:51, by Guandong

    Kiir is working for his own decline, u have dissolved the whole govnt that left the rumors in the country n now u started with Military. Even Bashir didnot handed over his commander to the ICC. send them to jail as u will follow them.

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  • 23 August 2013 09:11, by Malakal county Simon

    Naath! Don’t worries about this wanted president by ICC, he is ready dig his own grave for committing the follow:
    Ongoing Murle genocide:
    Peaceful protest Wau killings:
    Isaiah Abraham assassination:
    I don’t know how slave hearted George Bol will survives, when this dictator president finally spend his rest of his life in jail

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    • 23 August 2013 13:02, by Costa

      Malakal countty son: All the crimes you mentioned mount to crime against humanity. WBG governor lately accused Riak Machar of being behind the Wau incident. Which literary means Riak was convincing the president and stupid governor not to proceed with their wrong plan and they went against Riak advise and end up killing innocent civilians. Reziq must be included into this investigation too.

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  • 23 August 2013 19:19, by Kim Deng

    The Dinka Kingdom has arrested the following Generals who appear to be from Nuer community.
    1. Gen. Tanginye Chan
    2. Gen. Gatwech Jock
    3. Gen. Mabor Dhoal
    4. Gen. Gatwech Dual
    5. Gen. ...
    6. Gen. ...

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  • 23 August 2013 19:22, by Kim Deng

    The Dinka Kingdom fired the following Generals who appear to be from Nuer Community.
    1. Gen. Tiger Bol Koang
    2. Gen. Gatduel Gatluak
    3. Gen. Chayot Manyang
    4. Gen. ...
    5. Gen. ...

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  • 23 August 2013 19:27, by Kim Deng

    The same Dinka Kingdom is going to eliminate the following Generals who appear to be from Nuer Community.
    1. Lt. Gen. Kong
    2. Lt. Gen. Gathoth Mai
    3. Gen. Dong Riek
    4. Gen ...
    5. And after all these steps, the Dinka Kingdom will put the laughing machine, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon into very isolated world (prison) where he would be for the rest of his life.

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