July 6, 2014 (KAMPALA) – South Sudan’s rebel faction under the leadership of former vice-president Riek Machar has accused the government in Juba of targeting civilians in Western Equatoria State.
Rebel spokesman Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that a group belonging to president Salva Kiir’s Dinka tribe had attacked local residents in Maridi last week, killing three people.
The residents had previously been vocal in their support for federalism.
Koang said local youth from Western Equatoria state clashed with government troops between Thursday and Friday.
He claimed a number of government troops were killed during the fighting, while others fled retreated into the bush.
Machar’s calls for the introduction of a federal system of governance in South Sudan has found public support within the Greater Equatoria region.
However, Kiir has rejected demands for a federal system and accusing Machar of attempting to create disunity among government officials in Juba.
Koang has warned of a full-scale war if the government continues to ignore popular support for federalism, saying Equatorian people have right to choose how they want to be governed just like any other South Sudanese.
EQUATORIAN STUDENTS HOLD MEETING
On Saturday, a group of Equatorian students based in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, held a closed-door meeting at Cavendish University, where they condemned the recent killings in Western Equatoria.
According to a well-placed source, there is now active coordination taking place between people on ground and students in Greater Equatoria and abroad.
“We have come out with [a] resolution [that] any killing to our people because of calling for [a] federal system will not be tolerated. We are ready to go for it whether peaceful (sic) or in terms of resistance,” said students.
All three governors of Greater Equatoria recently voiced support for federalism, which they say is the right choice for the region.
Support is growing across South Sudan for federalism, which many believe will help reduce rampant corruptions and tribalism in the country. Others favour a federal system as a way of boosting competition in term of development across the country’s 10 states.