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South Sudan army denies killing county commissioner allied to Machar

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August 18, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese national army, known as the Sudan People’s liberation Army (SPLA), has denied any connection to the death of up to 46 people, including Commissioner of Mayendit county in Unity region. 30 others were injured in an attack.

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Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang, SPLA spokesperson, is seen at a containment site outside of the capital Juba on April 14, 2016. (AFP Photo)

“The SPLA forces in the area have nothing to do with these allegations. We heard about them but when we contacted our forces and verified, we found out they were not a party to that incident. It was just a smear campaign by anti-peace elements and those who would like to tarnish the image of the SPLA for political reasons," said SPLA spokesperson, Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang when reached to comment on the development on Thursday.

The military officer, however, confirmed that Mayendit county commissioner and 45 others were killed in an attack carried out by armed elements on 8 August. He did not identify the group and under whose command and areas in which they operate in the region.

Local officials claimed that attackers wearing SPLA uniforms attacked Rubkuai, the administrative headquarters of Mayendit during which they killed 46 people including the commissioner.

Sources claimed about 24 SPLA soldiers and 22 civilians including the commissioner and two women were killed in the incident in which about 6,430 heads of cattle were also taken by the attacking force.

The attackers came from Koch county in neighbouring Northern Liech State. This occurred after the government-appointed Koch county commissioner, Gordon Kuony, asked the Southern Liech government for reinforcement from Northern Liech authorities in response to repeated skirmishes.

It was not clear whether Koch county commissioner had joined the opposition faction led by Riek Machar, former first deputy to President Salva Kiir.

(ST)

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