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S. Sudan rebels admit to killing civilians following human rights report

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March 2, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Following a report by Human Rights Watch, which accused both rebel and government armed forces in the South Sudanese conflict of committing serious abuses during recent fighting, anti-government forces have admitted that civilians have been killed in the areas under their control.

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Seyoum Mesfin (L), chairperson of IGAD meditors, and Taban Deng Gai, SPLM In Opposition chief negotiator, attend the resumption of South Sudan talks in Addis Ababa on 11 February 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

Taban Deng Gai, the rebel’s chief negotiator at the peace talks in Ethiopia, told Sudan Tribune that the SPLM-in-Opposition “are not denying innocent persons lost life in Malakal, Bentiu or Bor,” the state capitals of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei respectively.

He said that if any of individuals from the SPLM/A-in-Opposition were implicated in war crimes then they “shall face the law".

However, Gai, the former Governor of South Sudan’s Unity state, said that it was not possible to compare the number of civilians killed in rebel-controlled areas to the “numbers killed in Juba” at the start of the conflict.

On December 15 fighting broke out between members of the Presidential Guard in the capital following weeks of tension within the ruling SPLM.

In the days that followed soldiers members of the army and security services targetted people from the Nuer ethnic group, the tribe of Riek Machar the former Vice President, who the government accuses of attempting to overthrow President Salva Kiir.

Human Rights Watch’s researchers, who spent over two weeks in some of the worst affected areas, found that “armed forces from both sides have extensively looted and destroyed civilian property, including desperately needed aid facilities, targeted civilians, and carried out extrajudicial executions, often based on ethnicity.”

Daniel Bekele, the group’s Africa director, said in a statement that “the wanton destruction and violence against civilians” in the South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in 2011 following decades of civil war, is “shocking”.

“Both sides need to stop their forces from committing abuses and hold those who have responsible for their actions, and the African Union (AU) should accelerate its long promised investigations.”

Gai responded to this recommendation by saying that the rebels shall cooperate with United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and other agencies “to investigate these violations and those found guilty must face the law."

The senior rebel official claimed that the "killing of Nuer civilians in Juba was ordered by Salva Kiir himself when he appeared in military uniform on national TV on December 16, 2013 and declared his loyalists must crush all Nuers and Riek Machar associates."

So far the highest estimated for the numbers killed has been from International Crisis Group, who put the figure at 10,000 some weeks ago but Gai said that number of people killed in Juba alone exceeded this estimate.

The government says that 100 soldiers and members of the security services have been arrested for the attacks on civilians in the capital, which predicated defections from army in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.

Machar, denies attempting to stage a coup but has assumed control of the mutineers and armed Nuer civilians known as the White Army to form the SPLM-in-Opposition, which negotiated a ceasefire deal signed at the end of January that has been broken by both sides.

The report accuses the rebels of looting civilian properties including humanitarian aid in Bentiu and Rubkona in Unity state, as well as other areas that they have held at various points during the ten-week conflict.

Gai denied the allegations and instead blamed government forces and Sudanese rebels - the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) - of looting and setting fire to Rubkona.

In the first weeks of the conflict the South Sudanese rebels in Unity state claimed that Sudanese rebels were using the oil-producing state’s disputed border areas as bases for fighting their decade-long war with the Khartoum government, an allegation denied by Juba.

Gai said that joint forces of the SPLA and Sudanese rebels had “looted 53 cars belonging to NGO’s, they looted banks and took civilian properties" from Leer, Machar’s place of birth in the days after the ceasefire was sign in late January.

Sudan Tribune was unable to reach the government’s delegation in Addis Ababa over the weekend for comment on the Human Rights Watch report or Gai’s allegations.

(ST)

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  • 3 March 11:15, by Tutbol

    Ethiopia is playing this Nuer & S Sudanese govt game, as if Ethiopia is a real force to be reckoned with in our East Africa, but Ethiopia does not know that it game has been since been noticed, the sooner Ethiopia stops, it meddling in by supporting the Nuers against S Sudanese, the better. S Sudanese would want their Gambella....

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    • 3 March 11:37, by Robot

      So erroneous indeed,,,, people shall one day come to their senses n understood that we are all humans who deserve to be treated equally n respect lives... Taban Deng u r ruthless, I thought you were patriotic but regarding your claims and accusations depicts exactly what kind of human you are, let your accusation be within the context of South Sudan and don’t cross the borders.

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      • 3 March 12:59, by mathem jech amer

        They should accept, in Malakal civilians were moving freely including Nuer civilians when government soldiers were in the town, after rebels control it now, even Nuer civilians are fearing of going to Malakal town, they fuck old women & young girls & leave them while taking away big girls especially Shilluks.

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    • 3 March 12:56, by mathem jech amer

      The so-called JEM of Darfur were there when Taban himself was a Governor but he welcomed them and gave them a place to stay. They supported his soldiers when they were fighting at Higleig, now he is complaining because he is not part of government..He did you not chase them when u were a governor? shame...

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    • 3 March 13:51, by John The President

      Taban is making a U turn to the government n I know Gadet Yak will not sit on one table with Riek Machar,he hate the man because he has betrayed South Sudanese in many occasions he was only moved by the news that Nuers were targeted in Juba unless he is not alive.I am quite sure these guys can not follow Riek Ideology of seeking decomcary through killing. The rebellion is reaching its dead end soo

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    • 4 March 03:12, by Bentiu son

      BREAKING FABULOUS NEWS
      Yesterday at 3.00pm South Sudan local time,Salva Kiir n his husband Museveni sent Kenyan Cargo Plane loaded with thousands machines guns,ammunition n food items mistakenly landed in Madina Nasir instead of Mabaan County in Upper Nile State. Thereby,our gallantry forces captured all its crew one Kenyan National n a Somalian pilot.They two pilots are now under our custody.

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      • 4 March 03:14, by Bentiu son

        We hereby sending our heartily congratulation to alcoholic President Salva Kiir Mayardit for arming our strong SPLA in Opposition with modern machines guns,ammunition n food items. Plz genocidal President Kiir,send us more Kenyan Cargo planes with drunkards pilots like you till we all armed ourselves priority to kick your asshole out in South Sudan.We are not scare at all with ur poor policy.

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  • 3 March 12:39, by Konkooc

    no any nuer civilians killed in Juba may be on crossfire even including some Dinka civilians where killed by those who defected. only those soldiers who defected and want to stage a coup. goverment troops do not kill any civilian when they capture the towns held by the rebels. and the prove is that when goverment in the town citizens feels safe. but when rebels in the town all citizens ran away.

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    • 3 March 12:56, by Ross

      Dear Friend
      It is true that government has killed many nuers, specially when they recapture a town. this can not be denied.
      the fact is that they talk in Market places, public areas asking and narrating how and where are Nuer, so that they clear the town from Nuers. it happend in Malakal, Jonglie and Unity States.
      One of my relatives were killed although he was with government side.

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      • 3 March 13:03, by mathem jech amer

        Let your relative be killed and get to hell. All Nuers are traitors whether with government or not. Those Nuers still in the government are devils, remaining to be planning and giving news and movenment of government troops to rebel areas, so do you called spies part of governemnt.. I wish I was a spy chief, I should have killed any Nuer pretending to be part of governemnt—let them joint Riek

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  • 3 March 12:45, by Konkooc

    let ethiopia not play with South Sudan by supporting rebels or we will also support Oromo Liberation Front(OLF)the majority 40,000,000 in population and bring Amahra with Oromo to the stupid goverment of tigrai the minority.also Ogaden rebels of Somali plus Gumuz Beni-Shangol of Assosa.

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    • 3 March 12:58, by Tutbol

      Konkooc,
      Our govt has let its self be bullied by the so-called ethiopians when, when these so-called Ethiopians have been taking advantage of S Sudanese for a long time! The Ethiopians are being used by the US-Europeans against S Sudanese govt & its peoples, but their evil game has been found out.

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  • 3 March 13:00, by Ross

    Dear
    Remember the LORD ARMY. and remember the Sudan. if you want South to be the war area than make sure is going to happend and rebels will defeat you. Uganda and South Sudanese army is being defeated by the rebels which is a shame on you. better keep quite before Nuers comes to you.

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    • 3 March 13:38, by Monydit

      which Nuer people are talking about ,because I know who is Nuer ,I Fuck them in 1991 when their Father Dr Riekbaai Machar defeator in Naisr what Happend ,he came Back asking our Late Commander in Chief Dr John Garang to forgive him and Really Dr John Garang forgive him and then President Salva Kiir forgive him too to Appointed him as VP ,So my messages to all brothers & Sisters of Nuer that lea R

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      • 4 March 03:24, by Bentiu son

        Monyliel stop lying son of slave/Jeenge.If you had fucked Nuer in 1991,why are you crying upto now about split in 1991? That mean Nuer had fucked you at the time without doubt.Notice morons,Dr Machar n Dr Mabior were pressurized by international community to united their ranks if they want peace in their country.That pressure led into their factions emerged in 2002 after Dr Mabior accept self det

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        • 4 March 03:34, by Bentiu son

          through democratic referendum as we did on 9 July 2011.Answer this question:where is the so called New Sudan vision gone? in dustbin right? where is the Secular Democratic United Sudan under Dr Mabior Gone? in the hell right? Where is the called for separation of religion from State n lifted State of emergency gone? With late Dr John right? What about the Right of Self Determination of Dr Machar?

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          • 4 March 03:46, by Bentiu son

            Independence South Sudan on 9 July 2011.Right? Waw!foolish Dinka majority,whom do you really think can buy your blackmailing,blindfolding,cheating tricks n cunning. Non idiots,your contradictions,denial,messes,or political limbos,dilemmas n lack of good vision will lead you nowhere in South Sudan.We are fed up with your pure lies,fibs, baseless allegations and prides for nothing in South Sudan.

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    • 3 March 13:49, by Tutbol

      Ross,
      I can’t remember, did you mean LRA? yeah, the LRA are terrorists, for all i know, just like our Nuer armed rebellion. What is the different between the CIA, MI6, Mousaad, Al qada, Saudia Arabia, Qatar, the US, the UK, France & their evil juus? none!. The countries are evil countries.

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      • 3 March 18:07, by Tutbol

        These countries are evil countries and that is why they are using the young silly Nuers to destabalise their country. These countries will be turn into their aged-old trade of piracy just as the Somalis do now, when countries like Africans countries, Asians, Russia and South American countries stop trading with these evils countries...

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        • 3 March 18:16, by Tutbol

          The so-called BRICs countries should just formed their alliance, leave the US, the UK, France & their juus attack dog, with their evil world bank, their IMF & their UN & their UNSC, the institutions they have corrupted. Who still love these evil countries these days? They must be let go with their evils aids. The US, the US have been respected in Africa for along time...

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          • 3 March 18:25, by Tutbol

            but a line has to be sometimes drawn in the sand that they should keep their gods given aids for themselves than using their aids games to threaten other peoples. Let the BRIC countries join hands with the other developing countries & use their own chosen currency & sanction not to trade with the US, the UK, France & the evils who follow them...

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            • 3 March 18:34, by Tutbol

              No tourism to other countries from these evil countries. And the BRIC & the developing countries would see if the so-called US, the US, France & their juus attack dog, won’t be the poorest countries in the World.

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  • 4 March 02:09, by Naath Raani

    If Nuers defected from your ass Dinkas everything will collapse. Look, in 1991 when Nuers said, no to Garang, Arabs captured about 90% of the towns. Now some Nuers are with that ugly gov’t and your still crying for help from others countries. What the fuck you guys doing in South Sudan? Thon Bol, or what ever name you call yourself (Tutbol) you need to know that your slave King of the jungle Kille

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    • 4 March 08:23, by Frak Cho

      Nuers do not brag, all Dinkas have not taken your evil acts into their consideration otherwise you Nuers will suffer. You drumming everyday war drums and no Dinka responding to it. Please Nuers stop bragging around and try to have some sense instead of being senseless!!!!

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    • 4 March 08:33, by Frak Cho

      Nuers are always anti-success! In 1991, SPLM/SPLA mainstream was out to defeat Arabs but Nuers senseless pulled down the struggle. You Nuers never fought Arabs but you all been leading militia live. The only war you Nuers fought in S.Sudan, was the war of referendum yet you had your evil intention in your hearts of changing the system of voting the president to war like. The most senseless Nuers!

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  • 4 March 02:13, by Naath Raani

    r Kiir started and no one will be blaimed. Let’s see who will be the winner (cam marialnyang). Nuers are roaring toward your ass in Juba and you need to pack before we trape your crazy ass down. No mercy since your father chief Killer Kiir stepped to the Lion’s tail.

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  • 4 March 09:30, by Tata

    Gai Deng,
    There is no comparison in killing. You killed one persn or 1000s is the same thing called "KILING or MURDER". There no small sin and big sin. the same God who said "Don’t covert your neigghbor’s wife", is the same Gd who said "Don’t kill", unless U R a Muslem, you can then argue!. Good that you have admitted your civilian Killings. Their widows(ers) will poison air for U. Shame on U!

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