October 9, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese SPLM-In Opposition has criticized the United States (U.S.) for renewing military support to the government under the leadership of President Salva Kiir, saying it was a “wrong decision” to support an army that allegedly “rapes, tortures and kills” civilians in the country.
- A U.S. Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) conducted in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio November 29, 2013. (Photo Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)
The opposition group also said the support would help the government to afford the ongoing civil war and encourage it to continue with the military offensives against the opposition forces under the leadership of the ousted former First Vice President, Riek Machar.
On Friday, President Barack Obama issued a decision to continue U.S. military assistance to the troubled South Sudan despite the use of child soldiers in the troubled country and against the suggestion by the international community to impose arms embargo on the nation.
The waiver also circumvents the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act, which is meant to block military assistance to countries recruiting children in their armies.
While the South Sudanese government has welcomed what it described as a positive policy shift by the U.S. and the “right thing to do,” the opposition faction l, said this showed how the outgoing U.S. administration had “confused” on how to approach the situation in South Sudan.
“This is a very unfortunate wrong decision to support the regime’s army which has committed documented civilian massacres, war crimes and crimes against humanity for the past three years,” said opposition leader’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, in reaction to the U.S. military assistance to Juba.
“The outgoing U.S. administration should not reward with military assistance an army known for killing and torturing ordinary citizens, and for raping women, including United States citizens, as recently occurred at Terrain Hotel in Juba. The United States should not reward the undisciplined army of the leadership whose soldiers shot at American diplomats within the vicinity of the Republican Palace in Juba. And why would the United States government support the factional army which has renewed the civil war in the country by violating the August 2015 peace agreement and has been on offensive against opposition forces in escalating the war,” Dak further inquired.
He suggested that the opposition faction would have expected the U.S. government to rather push for imposition of arms embargo on South Sudan’s government instead of supporting the government’s “war machinery” in the country.
Dak claimed that President Kiir’s government has not been directing the security sector budgets to security sector reforms but has been rather purchasing weapons to fight internal wars which he keeps on creating in order to maintain his dictatorial rule and give no chance for peace and democratic processes.
He challenged that supporting with military aid President Kiir’s army which is also commanded by some of the U.N. and U.S. sanctioned senior officers is a “great confusion” on the part of the “outgoing” U.S. administration on how to approach the situation in the country.