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S. Sudan army chief orders shoot to kill in Western Equatoria state


August 2, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudanese army (SPLA) chief of general staff, General Paul Malong Awan, has given orders, instructing government soldiers in Western Equatoria state to shoot anyone resisting his directives.

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SPLA) soldiers sit before the start of celebrations on the 31st anniversary of the SPLA in Juba May 16, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

The move came after two days of deadly clashes in Yambio, the state capital, which left dozens killed between local youth from Azande ethnic group and armed members of Dinka community backed by elements of the army deployed to the state.

But the top army chief in the young country has told the army to shoot the members of the youth group who will violate measures taken to calm the situation, an order many say may be misinterpreted to target innocent civilians and result to massacre.

“You must deploy to stop this and if they refuse, shoot them. It is not up to them. You must stop it,” General Awan told government soldiers predominantly members of the ethnic Dinka on a visit to Yambio town, scene of fighting, over the weekend.

It was not immediately clear what motivated him to issue such stern directives in a state widely seen as a beacon of democracy, peace and stability since governor Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro ascended to power and assumed control of the state affairs in 2010.

General Awan, who paid one day working visit to the area on Friday, did not specify the target of the shoot to kill orders, raising concerns from many government officials in the area as well as civil and human rights activists.

Multiple military sources at the general headquarters told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the order was prompted by the resumption of tribal fighting allegedly involving some elements of the government soldiers in the area in support of their relatives fighting local youth and police forces since last week. The actual cause of the dispute remains largely unclear.

Local officials and military sources have been providing conflicting information surrounding the cause.

State officials are keen to attribute the cause to a long standing community dispute on the illicit acquisition and use of land in addition to an alleged deliberate use of cows, apparently by members of cattle keeping community from neighbouring Warrap and Lakes, who are in the area searching for pasture and water in the area to destroy crops and farmlands.

But military sources claimed they were dealing with youth engaged in rebellion-like activities, allegedly targeting some elements of the government forces from certain ethnic background in the area.

Western Equatoria state information minister, Charles Barnaba Kisanga, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that around 9 people have been killed since the dispute erupted last week when the two civilians were shot dead by a gunman sighted as coming from the direction of the local military in the area.

The two motor riders, he said, were natives of the state from different ethnic groups. One of whom was an Azande, the dominating community in the state and the other was a Moru, the second large community found east of the state.

No one has been apprehended by either state police, security organs, including members of the criminal investigation department or members of the army.

No any group in the area has also come out to claim any responsibility. However, state officials believe the cause of the shooting could be linked to the incident in which three of the government soldiers were killed in Brisi, a village outside Yambio town, capital of the state, allegedly by unknown gunmen.

Minister Kisanga explained during an exclusive interview that one police officer was again shot dead on Saturday and three others were found dead on Sunday morning at Hai Kuba residential area inside Yambio town, raising the number of those killed to 9 people.


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  • 2 August 2015 21:29, by Shadrack Nuer Machut

    If S. Sudanese don’t stop being bias & support to ur people whether wrong or not, then all that we want is war among us. It’s not there for civilians to ambush & kill national army due to tribal ideological influence.

    repondre message

    • 2 August 2015 22:37, by Joseph Canada

      So according to you the Dinka who came on Two Lorries to come and settle in Western Equatoria State by force should be left to do so since they are supported my the Dinka Led Soldiers right?. You must be dreaming. You rather join the Taliban or Alshabab as your Rached fool have just said. Now we see the True Dinka motive in this nation. The Bible have spoken the truth and you will be Finished!

      repondre message

      • 3 August 2015 07:15, by Shadrack Nuer Machut

        Whoever says, he or she doesn’t want Dinka in S.S is liar, b’se if u like killing others, then u will also be killed before ur mission ends.

        repondre message

  • 3 August 2015 06:34, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    too lay Malong didn’t say any like that.
    those non peace created the situation to put the public in wrong line of opinion.

    repondre message

  • 3 August 2015 06:56, by Son of Ngundeng

    Dear All:
    All the nation said Nuer were wrong when we rise our voice to those mafia of dinkasm of rule of gangs, now all tribes will test the bitter of mafia rule, all tribes are witness now.

    Son of Prophet
    currently in front
    line Pathay Jonglei

    repondre message

  • 3 August 2015 08:46, by BM-21

    Gen. Paul Malong is not that kind of person who can spoke like z.
    only what i know is the state is being under rebellion since governor Joseph Bangasi Bakasoro was swon in to the state.
    Gen. Malong does not give any order to shot civilian.

    repondre message

  • 3 August 2015 10:25, by Alfredo christiani

    Dear readers
    The current Governor of W/Equatora state with his minister of information and many other officials are pure rebel’s supporters since day one, they were supposed to be arrested but Malong Awan refused to arrest them in December 2013 so everybody in South Sudan is aware about Joseph Bakasoro rebellion in western Equatora, don’t accused Malong for no reason, if it ‘was not Malong, Yambi

    repondre message

  • 3 August 2015 10:27, by Alfredo christiani

    Yambio would have been on fire long time ago, you better to praise him .

    repondre message

  • 3 August 2015 14:39, by siddaw

    When will this disgusting tribal segregations ever conclude? It was Nuer against Dinka and now it’s Azande against Dinka, as stated in the above article. where the hell are we heading? Where is the nation’s love? under what criteria should we be fighting ourselves?

    Prof. Siddaw

    repondre message

  • 3 August 2015 15:11, by Hardlinner

    Both sides are wrong, by killing innocent civilians. If people of western equatoria do not want other to live in their land, there r better ways of complaining, not killing none state members. Spla/ dinka shouldn’t kill innocent azande/moru but go after the thugs that killed innocent soldiers. Also police should corporate with army and apprehend the criminals that started this baseless fighting.

    repondre message

  • 3 August 2015 23:14, by marie

    Alfredo christiani,The policy of Dinka is clear like a daylight. They established all these military barracks in villages in Equatoria and dumped their kinsmen in them to subjugate the civilians while leaving areas of major insecurity concern such as lakes, warrap, Aweil where rampant killing is the order of the day. Kiir tried to impose his concubine Jemma Nunu on the people of Western Equatoria

    repondre message

    • 3 August 2015 23:25, by Force 1

      If SPLA need rebels to cease in Western Equatoria State; then they need to cut off the top heads of snakes in that state who incite violence against Dinka. Shoot to kill is the just the beginning!

      repondre message

      • 4 August 2015 03:01, by Eyez

        What is wrong these Dinka people, because, its really appauling to see how these goons have surpassed all reasoning and common sense, how on earth or in hell, does one arrogant tribe choose to terrorise and intimidate others openly, with the blessing of a tribal government’s rogue blueprint that seeks to conquer other people’s ancestral lands using its military cohorts, Equatoria will rise soon.

        repondre message

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