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South Sudan rebels deny killing Darfurian traders in Unity state

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April 20, 2014 (NAIROBI) – South Sudanese rebels have dismissed accusations that their fighters carried out targeted killings of Sudanese traders found in Bentiu during their recapture of the oil-rich state capital last Tuesday from government troops.

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A member of South Sudan’s rebel SPLM-In-Opposition patrols the streets of Upper Nile state capital Malakal, on 4 March 2014 (Photo: AFP /Andrei Pungovschi)

Sudanese media this week published stories alleging that the rebels allied to the former vice president, Riek Machar, massacred hundreds of Sudanese nationals, particularly from Darfur region.

Darfur rebel groups on Sunday have also presented an open letter to the United Nations Security Council in which they said up to 300 civilians from Darfur were killed on 15 April.

The open letter, which was cosigned by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur, Gibril Ibrahim and Minni Minnawi, however did not accuses a particular party in the conflict but expressed deep concern that Darfur civilians were being targeted in various towns in the troubled South Sudan.

Reports released by the Sudanese social media and activists however directly blamed the rebels claiming that over 200 Darfur civilians were shot dead inside the Mosque in Bentiu town.

However, the rebel commander in charge of Unity state’s military division 4, Maj. Gen. James Koang Chol, dismissed the accusation as "lies."

“By the time we came in Bentiu for this second time there were no Sudanese civilians or traders still in Bentiu who we were aware of as they all fled in the early weeks of January 2014 when violence erupted in Bentiu,” Gen Koang told Sudan Tribune on Sunday by phone from Bentiu.

He however admitted to killing of armed Sudanese nationals who were fighting alongside president Salva Kiir’s forces.

"What we know is that, yes, we killed in action armed members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) who were fighting alongside the government’s troops. They were in military uniform and participated in active combat against our forces," he further explained.

The rebels commander could not however rule out having few Sudanese traders who remained behind in Bentiu in which some of them could have been killed in crossfire by either side in the conflict, dismissing allegation of a targeted killing by the rebels.

"We would not have killed innocent Darfur civilians. We don’t see them as our enemies. Our target are those JEM members who have decided to abandon their cause in Sudan and allowed themselves to be used as mercenaries to fight for Salva Kiir," Koang further added.

The rebels have been accusing JEM and its armed militias called Torabora for interfering in the internal conflict and fighting against the South Sudanese rebels.

JEM has always denied the accusation.

Equally, the rebels also accuse the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) of military interference, which Uganda has admitted.

The SPLM-In-Opposition demands their withdrawal as a precondition for a political settlement with Salva Kiir’s government.

On 8 April, during a meeting in the State House in Kampala, president Yoweri Museveni of Uganda reportedly told president Kiir to urge the IGAD regional leaders to deploy the proposed troops to South Sudan as soon as possible in order to leave no vacuum as Uganda army planed to withdraw from the region before the rainy season.

(ST)

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  • 21 April 08:12, by Mi diit

    JEM mercenaries paid the price. Now Mrs Akiir is in limbo. Uganda fears the rainy season as their limited technology will become obsolete and useless while IGAD is reluctant to send in more troops to help the helpless Kiir. Kenya has refused and Ethiopia is not interested. Who will save this coward dictator during the coming few months. Ahahaaaaa…

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    • 21 April 08:24, by Jalaby

      Mi diit,
      History and current situation have proved to us that the bond and relationship between north and Nuer are very strategic relationship and can’t be broken at all because it is very complicated and so integrated and no one will be able to break it!
      Although Khartoum government was standing at the same distance between Juba government

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      • 21 April 08:33, by Jalaby

        and Nuer rebellion but it found itself again because of the so integrated bond and the mutual interest and the one fate future supporting their old strategic ally again!
        Well, you’re right, as soon as it rains all the roads between the south and Uganda will be out of reach and service while the transportation with Sudan and south states border will never stops whether

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        • 21 April 08:43, by Jalaby

          through river Nile or roads and remember there is a paved road from Khartoum till Heglig which is just few kilometers away from Unity state border and the same applies for Upper Nile state through Kostei hence that will guarantee the continuity of support for Nuer rebellion and for sure will make huge Dinka exodus to Uganda and Kenya that history never knows before!

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          • 21 April 09:33, by Majongdit

            Jalaby,
            Please take the Nuer with you to your Northern Sudan.
            Your wish can never be fulfilled with or without rains. We fought Arabs and. Nuer together. It has been a common thing. The Nuer have been for our use both. Take them and use them and later they can rethink and come back again. Well, it is Ngundeng that has prophesied that.

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  • 21 April 08:15, by Gat Gan Kiir

    The killing of Nuer civilian by Kiir and his allies were not free of charge. Durfurians must be kill in good number when found. They have choose to die like that with useless defences. I congratulate Gen. Koang, Gen. Makal Kuol and all freedom fighters for finally liberated Nuer origin land of Bentiu. The next target would be Warrap soon. Kill who ever you see walking for the sake of freedom.

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    • 21 April 08:46, by Bentiu son

      Dear freedom fighters under hero/Unity State respect Governor Major Gen James Koang Chuol and Tiger Lt Gen Peter Gatdet Yak Majiek,thanks you guys for liberated Unity State from genocidal/brutal/painful/corrupt regime of Salva and his husband M7 of Uganda.Salva Kiir became M7’s puppet and reached into extend of requesting a sexual intercourse with his own wife Mary Ayendit and others.

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      • 21 April 08:55, by Bentiu son

        What a joke and submissiveness? Well,coming to those corrupt, naive whom called themselves Darfur rebels leaders Abdel Wahid Al-Nur,Gibril Ibrahim and Minni Minnawi,Terrorists, it became clear that you have No vision,mission,values and Objectives to wage useless war with Khartoum. Why abandoned your course in Sudan and back up injustice/inequality of Salva Kiir in RSS? Answer that questions first.

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  • 21 April 09:11, by Majongdit

    The rebels should not deny a fact known by everyone. They ruthlessly slaughtered unarmed Sudanese traders in Bentiu. There are no UPDF OR JEM in Bentiu. UPDF deployment took place only in Bor and Juba. Bentiu is there at our mercy. I hope Koang really knows what I mean.

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  • 21 April 12:34, by alidrisy

    The one who comment by name of Jalaby (the stranger hypocrisy thief) he is Maki Almagrabi North Sudan columnist,
    happy for labeling by Jalaby … he is so naïve with stupid Alias

    repondre message

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