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SPLA denies UN rape report, says soldiers arrested on looting charges

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August 6, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), has strongly denied United Nations preliminary report that squarely blamed government forces and allied militia of massive rape and targeted killing in the capital, Juba.

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A woman prepares food as displaced women, men and children gather, in Juba, South Sudan at the UN compound in Tomping area, Tuesday, July 12, 2016 (AP Photo)

SPLA spokesman Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said the UN report is a complete “make-up.”

“There is no single truth in that document. It is a mere accusation to spoil the image of the SPLA,” said Koang, speaking by phone on Friday.

The UN report alleged targeting of Nuer ethnic community in Juba during the fighting last month. SPLM in Opposition leader, Riek Machar, is a Nuer, the second largest group after President Salva Kiir’s Dinka tribe.

Koang himself a Nuer, however admitted that the SPLA have arrested 19 soldiers on charges of looting, loitering and other indiscipline behaviours during and after the July 7-11 street battle between the rival SPLA forces.

The clashes dislodged SPLM-IO leader Machar and his small number of troops from his base in Juba and his whereabouts remain unknown for three weeks.

He told international media by phone from his hiding that a third force proposed by regional body, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and endorsed by the African Union (AU) should first arrive to Juba before his return.

President Kiir has rejected additional foreign force, telling a Kenyan television this week that UN peacekeepers in the country can protect Machar on his arrival to Juba.

IGAD member states are meeting in Addis Ababa today to decide on the next course of action.

(ST)

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