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South Sudan president admits forming private army

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February 17, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, has admitted forming a private army widely believed to have played a key role in ethnic killings after clashes broke out between rival factions within the presidential guard on 15 December.

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South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, who rarely appears in military fatigues, addresses the nation in December 16, 2013 (Reuters)

Kiir made the surprise admission at a political function organised by the youth wing of the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the capital, Juba, on Saturday.

The president attempted to justify the formation of the unauthorised army, saying the intention was to have “a reserve force” to help the nation in the event military action was needed.

“It was on this basis that somebody mobilised and recruited some youth to the national service. Those who thought of mobilisation of the youth to be trained did not have bad intention. It was not a bad idea. Any country which does not have [a] reserve [force] always gets into difficulties”, Kiir told the audience at the meeting.

He accused some officials of having denied the new recruits their salaries and weapons while undergoing training as they were opposed to the idea.

“When these people were in the training, they were denied everything. They were denied salaries, weapons and all the things they were supposed to get because some people did not like the idea, but when this thing (the outbreak of violence) happened, they did not think about all that happened to them. Who are now fighting in Unity, in Malakal and Jonglei states?” Kiir said.

The gathering was attended by high-ranking government officials and members of the SPLM’s leadership council.

Vice-president James Wani Igga also addressed the gathering, which was attended by the speaker of the national parliament, Magok Rundial, as well as senior military officers and members from other political parties in the country.

Close to half a million people have been displaced since the conflict broke out in Juba, quickly spreading to other parts of the country as government troops loyal to Kiir and rebels aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar battled for control of strategic areas.

The conflict divided along ethnic lines, pitting members of Kiir’s Dinka tribe against supporters of Machar, who hails from the Nuer tribe.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said a research team had documented widespread killings of Nuer men by members of the South Sudan army (SPLA) in Juba, particularly during the period between 15 to 19 December, including a massacre of between 200 and 300 men in the Gudele neighbourhood, after they were reportedly rounded up and forced into an overcrowded room in a government building before being shot.

Eyewitnesses and victims gave accounts of soldiers and policemen conducting house-to-house searches in the capital for Nuer men.

HRW also documented the targeting and killing of civilians of Dinka ethnicity by opposition forces in other parts of the country during the conflict.

(ST)

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  • 18 February 06:53, by Knight In Shining Armor

    This is not a good news for the new nation at all.How could you use such illegal weapons against your own people. This is really too much for the peace loving people of S. Sudan. We failed our new nation by giving power to this unrestrained Savage Kiir, and now we have to pay the price.

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    • 18 February 07:02, by Mi diit

      Well, Mrs. Akiir Museveni should prepare to go to ICC and face trial for the mass murder (genocide) against the Nuer ethnic group by his private army in case he will still be alive when the dust has settled.

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      • 18 February 07:23, by michael coma

        Mii dit
        People have revealed your identity that you are former vice president Riek Machar’s press secretary called James Gatdet Dak and i have believed it as true.When failed coup happened in Juba and then Riek escaped to the bush,you was also disappeared for good one week.But when Riek interviewed by BBC and said that he is on run that was the time you appeared on website.

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        • 18 February 07:31, by michael coma

          But currently you are Riek’s spokesperson in the bush.You do pretended that you are in America but i wondered how come you have no day and night on computer in Amerca as we have different time zone.All Kiir’s secretes and Machar you knows them.For your information,since the time you started comments,we were suspicious about you but now don’t hide your identity becoz you are rebel.

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    • 18 February 07:08, by Tong dut

      Private army for what?
      You have your ugandan dogs to protect you, and the will kill you.

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    • 18 February 11:33, by Tong dut

      Kiir private Army is Ugandan, they will protect him from macher the king.
      It is true That army of SPLA is the army who will kill Kiir for Kill of Nuer in south sudan.

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  • 18 February 06:58, by viper

    only Mathiang Anyoor and Amiathnoon were the only forces introduced into this war while the Tiitbaai and Gelweng are not yet given greenlight to participate fully. once given greenlight to join this war, Riek will leave the bushes of south Sudan because these people are well trained in carrying out bush operations.

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    • 18 February 07:11, by michael coma

      That was genuine moved mr.president.Riek Machar was also having his army within Juba if you was not aware about that.15000 trained army undercovered of civilians were in Juba for Riek Machar.In Juba town’s street most of money exchangers were Nuers and they were soldiers under Riek commands.You are very wise,Kiir.If you did trained those army,Riek would have run with your head.

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    • 18 February 09:26, by Bentiu son

      Dear readers,what a shame for Salva Kiir to breached the main Principles of SPLA/M who fought against Jaafar Mohd Nimeri policy of split Southern region into regionalism. Slava Kiir have regionalized n tribalized the National Army SPLA,his poor cabinet were previous he promised Greater Upper Nile intellectuals to take the post of Speaker of National Legislative Assemble in August House.

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      • 18 February 09:34, by Bentiu son

        holding by his blood money sucker Manasseh Magok Rundial.He had tribalized the SPLM Youth League where by there is SPLM Youth League for Greater Upper Nile region, Bahr el Ghazal under Paul Akol Dit n Equatoria.Salva Kiir admin is parallel to SPM/A under our national icon hero Dr Mabior whom after signed CPA had distributed his cadres into all States in regardless of their tribes affiliation

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  • 18 February 07:02, by Wicdail

    HAHAHAH!!!!! what a useless man never seen? does he still considered himself as a legitimate president for repubic? Or a tribal leader? Get is (****) (****) out of here.

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  • 18 February 07:08, by marie

    Mr Kiir trained his village boys to subdue the people of SS in order to keep him ruling the country. It is a failed plan that is not going to materialize again. Let him sort his issues with his brother Riak (members of SPLM) and the rest of us would settle our scores with him. Those of us mistreated and named as foreigners in our own land.

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    • 18 February 11:36, by Hardlinner

      Marie, get it straight, kiir trained private army to counter nuer madness. These people/nuer are like ants. They don’t know their rights but just follow their nuer leaders whether in wrong or right direction. It should now be in constitution of south sudan to never increase nuer quota beyond 15%. It better to have 90% equatorians in the army than to have 50% nuer in the army.

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  • 18 February 07:11, by Malou Manyiel

    Thanks Mr. President, painful truth is better than denial and lying to the nation. The only mistake is that the formation of the private army should have been approved by the parliament and recruitment involve members from the ten states of S. Sudan than being from the two states only. If this private army composed of members from different tribes, civilians killings would have not happened.

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  • 18 February 07:19, by Bolman

    Without saying anything we all aware about your Gorial militias who some of them gone in Nuerland with Ugandans, Funds Troops , hopely Kiir you will died sooner as well as is being resumed no refrain until the end date

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    • 18 February 11:26, by Hardlinner

      Bolman, kiir should have in fact recruit one soldier for ever nuer millitia integrated in spla. 15000 soldiers is simply nothing compare to game played by nuer militias to flood spla and nuerified it. It was great mistake to integrate large number of nuer given that most them are tribalists before nation matters. Mad dogs can never be made majority in nation army. Kiir watch out next time.

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  • 18 February 08:57, by Ambago

    Oooooop sorry Mr. President, you are finished.To the Hague, definitely you must go. What the hell did you think you were dealing? Again on top of this tribal private militia, you went and hired mercenaries in the form of the UPDF. Man, you are a gone case. And your so-called Bahr el Ghazal Youth whom you promoted to be the SPLM Youth should better also go to the battle fields. No way man!

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  • 18 February 09:03, by Joseph Canada

    Hahahaha!! this President is getting Dump and Dumper everyday.
    How could you break the national law that say "There shall never be any private army or police apart from the National army and the recognized police"???? KII is messed up!!!

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    • 18 February 10:23, by Joseph Canada

      Do you think ROSS belongs to your mother’s quarters? man this man is the IDIOT OF THE GREATEST DEGREE!! I MEAN THE MOST STUPIDEST DINKA OF ALL THE DINKA TRIBES. MONGOOSE IS EVEN SMARTER THAN THIS GOON!!!

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      • 18 February 17:10, by swassy

        LOOK AT HIM IS THIS A PRESIDENT OF A COUNTRY OR THIS IS A PRESIDENT OF BAMBOON DRESSED IN MILITARY CLOTHES.

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