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SPLM denies targeting of ethnic groups

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December 20, 2013 (JUBA) - A leading member of South Sudan’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Anne Itto, said it was not the policy of the army and the government to ethnically target and kill people based on their ethnic backgrounds, stressing her party believes in unity in diversity.

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Anne Itto, the deputy chairperson of the SPLM party (ST/File)

"It’s unfortunate if some members of the army begin to select some people," the SPLM Acting Secretary General told a press conference on Thursday.

"But this is not a policy of the army and it’s not a policy of the government and we must make sure that it does not happen."

She was speaking to journalists at a news briefing convened by the former rebel movement, which has governed South Sudan since a 2005 peace deal and steered the region to independence from Sudan in 2011.

The official, however, expressed confidence in the leadership of her party together with the government and well-wishers as well as the general public to work together to defuse tension.

"I am confident this situation would be contained and resolved immediately because [the] strength of the SPLM had been consistently tested. We have seen this before. People like Riek Machar, Lam Akol, the list is long left during such difficult times and the SPLM managed and continued to exist. They were accepted when they returned because we in the SPLM believe in unity and carrying together our people to consolidate peace and reconciliation", explained Itto.

On Monday President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar and other of planning a coup against him. This has been denied but the fight that broke-out at the headquarters of the presidential guards spread to others parts of the army resulting in an estimated 500 deaths in the capital.

Fighting has since spread to other parts of the country, notably Jonglei state where Peter Gatdet has led a mutiny which has taken control of the state capital, Bor.

SOUTH SUDAN NOT A TWO TRIBE STATE

Meanwhile, James Kok Ruei, a former minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management categorically stated that South Sudan is a not two tribe state but that it belongs to all its inhabitants.

“I want to tell our people, the Nuer that you have been misguided to believe that what happened in Juba is a conflict between the Nuer and the Dinka. This is totally not correct. What happened in Juba was an attempt by individual politicians to take power through violence”, said Ruei.

Paul Mayom Akec a former minister of irrigation and water resources says his country should have learned from other neighbouring countries in Central and East Africa and avoid their mistakes.

"As new nation, we should have learned from the experiences of other countries, unfortunately, there are people who believe that the short cut to getting into power is through violence, which is a wrong approach. Violence once started is difficult to control. It breeds violence if it is handled well”, said Akec in statement broadcast by South Sudan Television and Radio on Thursday.

He was speaking after holding a parliamentary briefing as members of the ruling party in the National Assembly, during which the group came with resolution to defuse tense situation.

"We have identified a problem that make civilian to run away from their houses.
It is the fear for safety. So we have come out with recommendation that all security organs should provide adequate protection in conformity to their constitutional mandate”, Akec explained.

Thousands of civilians have sought refuge at United Nations bases in Juba and elsewhere in the country.

Despite a report from Human Rights Watch claiming that civilians in Juba were targeted, the official further denied that there has been any ethnic fighting between the two major tribes.

"It is not true that there is an ethnic fighting as it is being circulated. The fighting we see in all the hospitals now comes from different states of South Sudan, and not just from the two or even one ethnic group. The Nuer and the Dinka have no problem. It is the politicians who are trying to polarise and exploit the situation to score their own political games," said Akec.

Jok Madut Jok, an undersecretary in the ministry of youth, culture and sports, said though the developments in Juba could not be completely viewed as a coup, it must be seen as an actualisation of the warning which the dissident officials made prior to the eruption of violence.

"This is kind of their prophecy becoming fact." Even if Machar did not lead a coup, Jok said, it is possible people loyal to him decided to follow through on his remarks.

On Thursday Machar, who is currently on the run with an arrest warrant on his head, described Kiir as illegitimate and called for the ruling party and army to depose him.

(ST)

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  • 21 December 2013 08:27, by Paul Chadrack

    stupid kiir’ wore Ito, this war will reach your madi land.

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    • 21 December 2013 10:34, by Bentiu son

      Kiir’s concubine Anna Itto shut up prostitution fucked with donkey penis,just wait bitch we are coming to you in Juba n Nimule too.We don’t give a fuck to Dinkas n their allies Nyamnyam.I know you guys were murdered Nuer together with Dinkas in Juba.Those 4000 innocent Nuer civilians you had murdered cowardly Anna their blood will pour into your ugly face.Iknow you r fighting maintain Pagan’s post

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    • 21 December 2013 13:08, by Rommel

      How in the world can she deny that civilians were targeted on the basis of their tribal nationality when Human Rights Watch has already affirmed that this tragedy did indeed transpire!? The loss of any life is tragic... the killing of unarmed civilians is evil, and thus unforgivable.

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      • 21 December 2013 13:13, by Rommel

        Riek is guilty of having killed tens of thousands of civilians... and now Salva too has killed civilians, in the hundreds at the very least. These two [2] men are not fit to lead South Sudan.

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        • 21 December 2013 13:22, by Mr Point

          Since 2005 Riek has apparently followed the democratic process. He has done many things for South Sudan in dealing with the LRA and with Abyei at the International court in the Hague.
          He was preparing for 2015 elections, not for a coup.
          This fist fight between the guards blew up out of control ....

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          • 21 December 2013 13:26, by Mr Point

            .. and then Kiir panicked. Just as he panicked over Abyei in 2008 and 2011 and over Heglig in 2012.
            Now it is becoming clear that there never was a coup attempt.
            But these stooges are attempting to make Riek guilty by association. They don’t need evidence. They don’t need political dialogue. They have stolen the state.

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        • 21 December 2013 13:54, by Toney Toney Matot

          Dear Rommel,
          I think you are lost this time for depending lies from group of Riek Machar. sincerely speaking, nothing of that kind but what happened, some stooge Nuers thought if there is misunderstanding between Kiir and Riek means that it is the whole Nuer problem. if Dinka were to target Nuer,how many of them are here in BEG now and are not kill.

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  • 21 December 2013 08:37, by Predicted

    Mrs. Kiir Itto. You can’t keep denying and lying to the public. Why don’t you visit the U.N. compound and talk to the people you represent there. Ask them what they have faced. Visit them in the hospitals and show them you care. Apologize for the ethnice clensing and attrocities commited by your Barhgazel Presidential guards. Admit that your government made a huge mistake in a cover up "coup".

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  • 21 December 2013 09:33, by Chol Mading

    Dear citizens of RSS, deceiving people is a great crime in front of our Almighty. I am a Dinka and I would not lie. Nuers were targeted intentionally but their Generals failed to protect them. So, please Nuer don’t blame us but your sons and daughters in uniform. Please don’t come out of UN compound stay there until you know for sure that you will be safe. When did Itto becomes authentic person?

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  • 21 December 2013 12:14, by Hardlinner

    Riek would do any thing to become president. he would never be ashame kill for the sake of power. what a brainless moron. a sane person would have retired totally given what he did in 1991 and now in capturing of bor town.

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    • 21 December 2013 13:07, by Mr Point

      The murder of South Sudanese citizens just because they were Nuer.
      The murder of Isiaah Abraham.
      The imprisonment of Pagan Amum without legal process.
      These things show that this is a government that will only allow what is dictated by Kiir and his circle.
      Anyone outside that circle is marginalised.

      repondre message

      • 21 December 2013 13:16, by Mr Point

        Why didn’t those journalists present ask more searching questions about the specific groups that carried out the murders of Nuer civilians and how they will be dealt with?
        Could those journalists be thinking of what happened to Isiaah Abraham?

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  • 21 December 2013 13:27, by chol

    To my South Sudanese citizens once again it time to face this face fool,so call Dr Riak .A fool and his gangs just repeated the same mistakes they did back in 1991,but this time you will face the whole SPLA with all tribes,So if you Nuer want to come to power by force forget that not going happen and I know that not all Nuers are with traitor Machar.
    Chol Y

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    • 21 December 2013 14:10, by Mr Point

      This is 2013 not 1991.
      Kiir is behind the massacre of civilians, not Machar.
      Machar has apparently committed no crime against the law of South Sudan. All he has done so far is to challenge Kiir in a constitutional way.
      Kiir has apparently sent out execution squads. This is illegal and unconstitutional. And a crime against humanity.

      repondre message

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