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South Sudan county official resigns over army abuses

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November 17, 2016 (JUBA) - A commissioner in South Sudan’s newly created Yei River State has resigned in protest over the human rights abuses allegedly committed by pro-government forces in the area.

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South Sudanese SPLA soldiers are pictured in Pageri in Eastern Equatoria state on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Samir Bol)

Jacob Toti, the commissioner of Lujulo county, accused government forces of committing “human rights violations," in recent weeks.

Last week, he said, the soldiers launched heavy attacks, in which they carried out heavy destruction on the civil population, resulting in brutal murder of a school head teacher, religious leader, burning of market centre, church building and looting of properties belonging to the civil population in the county.

These actions by government soldiers, he said, caused many civilians to flee into bushes while others ran to Uganda and Congo for safety.

“I don’t feel happy to see my own people being killed, tortured and houses burnt down. As such I have taken this hard decision to quit this position. Reasons are: last week our government forces looted a church, followed by shooting and burning of a market centre in the village. They also killed one person working for a local church and also killed the head teacher of Nyei primary school,” his letter reads.

It adds, “I am really very disappointed on the way the government soldiers are mistreating their own people and their unprofessional actions has made me to quit this position.”

The former county commissioner also dismissed reports claiming he was assigned by the state and central governments to hunt down Yei intellectuals residing in the West Nile region and Uganda at large.

“I also want to take this opportunity to dismiss an allegation that my name is in a document to hunt down people who hail from Yei River State to be deported back to South Sudan. My position is very clear, the situation in South Sudan needs inclusive dialogue but not deportation of people to South Sudan,” Toti further clarified.

“People have come to Uganda as individuals with their own different reasons. There is no way to join any group against the will of God by deporting them back to South Sudan to be killed. I wanted to be clear on this point that I cannot and I am not part of this mistake,” he added.

Toti urged the state governor to replace him with the person of his choice and proposed that dialogue be initiated if the country is to achieve peace.

In May, Human Rights Watch accused government soldiers of a wide range of deadly attacks on civilians in and around the western town of Wau. The army, it said, killed, tortured, raped, detained civilians and looted properties.

(ST)

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  • 18 November 2016 01:07, by Malakal county Simon

    Good on you Mr commissioner!!!! This tribal government is no longer representing South Sudan as a country, but only Dinka as tribe.... Therefore, it’s must be demolish in order for us to have a new government whom can protect and care, for her own citizens regardless of which tribe they belong.... illegitimate president Kiir and his cohorts, must go and it’s just a matter of time....

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    • 18 November 2016 06:30, by Akuma

      Malakal County,

      The commissioner Jacob Toti has militia mind already. His resignation has no effect in the implementation of peace agreement. So, let him join criminal and thugs groups because he is also a criminal. He join criminals group to acquire big post like coward Riek Machar militias. Who cares for your resignation. you will come alone as you join militias group alone!!!!

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    • 18 November 2016 07:46, by Agany Malim

      Simon!
      what do you think as a solution to the problem that is happening in our nation? Here, i do think that if the government is bad we can not take arms to target innocent citizen who are future of this nation,but we go for dialog which will pave way for election because the more we fight the more we strengthen the government.

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  • 18 November 2016 02:01, by Hardlinner

    well you have asked for it. you have allowed your militias to target dinka civilians on the road. and also killing and looting locals in Yei town. do you think that dinka themselves are happy with direction the government is leading to, no. but more rebellion will bring more suffering. all we need is to stay patience and wait for general election.

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  • 18 November 2016 03:38, by Naath

    Hardlinner,

    Do not blame other when they do exactly what Dinka have been doing to otherss. Dinka have been killing, rapping, stealing and damaging other tribes property since 2012. Your Dinka’s tribal chief uses South Sudanese resources for the benefit of Dinka and uses public money to buy arms to kill none Dinka. Kiir is the most foolish tribal leader on the earth and he is warcriminal.

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  • 18 November 2016 05:04, by Tilo

    It is a big shame with lots of resignation in the current governance, Government is for the people, they need to be friendly and protect the citizen. If this is a military directive from the top military in the country then this government is not for the people. If this is soldiers own making then the perpetrator need to be prosecuted & held accountable, and the entire military need ethics trainin

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  • 18 November 2016 07:36, by Agany Malim

    Attention! what is happening is not the government, but is our own sons and daughters that took armed and finishing us in the daylight.

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  • 18 November 2016 08:15, by Kalo

    The town of Yei will be like other areas of Magwue county like pageri,opari,lol,all the civilians will go to Uganda,the bad with equatorian,they used to start,final starting blaming and ran to Uganda,Congo,Kenya etc,there is nothing good in war,people of Yei started and let them be responsible for that,no crying!!keep on fighting if there is benefit of that.

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    • 18 November 2016 20:58, by jubaone

      Kalo ya Nuba,
      You started the war in Nuba areas and where are you now? squattiing and drifting like some vagabond. You want to f**k with Bashir, you run away? C´mon, think twice. You will remain a refugee and parasite in Equatoria. The best for your survival, is have a jerdal and start carrying Equatoria urara. Good money for you instead of being a Nuba criminal, we shall chop your hands off.

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      • 19 November 2016 02:43, by barbayo

        Jubaone
        my friend you are still talking of history, we told you war is not good ,you and some Equatoria malitias encouraged to much but now these are results , be refuge in Uganda one day and one time you be like James Dak 100%

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  • 18 November 2016 20:29, by Zalan

    Targeting of innocent civilians need to be stopped by both warring parties. Why have we been fighting all these decades. Who are they fighting for? Or who are they protecting?

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