Home | News    Friday 27 May 2016

South Sudan to release “true" report on army conduct in Bahr el Ghazal region

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May 26, 2016 (JUBA) - The government of South Sudanese and the high command of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), will in coming days release a "true" report of the activities of the army in the states of Bahr el Ghazal region where it forces in the month of April were involved in civilian abuses, according to a United States-based rights group.

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A SPLA soldier stands in front of a vehicle in Juba on December 20, 2013. (Photo Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

The army, Human Rights Watch said, committed human right abuses in the form of killings, rape, torture, burning down and looting of civilian properties, while hunting armed men loyal to politicians allied to the first vice president, Riek Machar in the region.

The army spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang told the United Nations-sponsored Radio Miraya Thursday that the report was the outcome of a "one sided" investigation and vowed government and the army command would soon release a true picture of the activities in which the government forces in the states of Bahr el Ghazal were involved.

"This is not a banana republic. We have a constitution and laws which are put in place to uphold and safeguard the rights and liberties of every citizen. The true picture is that we have not been dealing with the armed opposition. We have not been involved in attacking and looting properties of the civilians," said Koang, previously a rebel spokesperson.

He said the command of the army rejects the report because it is "biased, one sided and absolutely filed with lies and unfounded allegations from unauthorised respondents".

"We dealt with bandits. Our forces were dealing with people supporting acts of banditry. Our mandate is to maintain law and order, not to loot the civilian population”, added Koang.

He admitted that government forces in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal state exchanged fire when a column of soldiers on patrol were attacked by unknown groups.

But while the army spokesperson denies the authenticity of the human right reports, local officials and activists from Western Bahr el Ghazal and other areas in the region maintained in a series of interviews with Sudan Tribune on Wednesday and Thursday that all areas of Western Bahr el Ghazal have recorded and continues to remain poor in human right records, asserting numerous serious abuses were committed.

Sources confirmed the veracity of the human rights report that Unlawful killings, disappearances, torture, rape, and arbitrary arrest and detention by security forces increased in April, despite the return of the first vice president, Riek Machar, to whom many armed men in the region have pledged their allegiance.

Activists say harsh and life-threatening conditions in prison and detention facilities; prolonged pretrial detention; lack of an independent and effective judiciary; and arbitrary interference with privacy, family, and home also remained serious problems. Pro government militiamen continued to recruit and retain child soldiers and to compel forced labour by adults and children.

They also continued to abuse freedom of the press. The government continued to restrict freedoms of assembly and movement while corruption remained pervasive; and security forces restricted non-governmental entities. Societal discrimination against women and ethnic minorities, abduction of political dissidents, child labor, and lack of protection for workers’ rights continued to be pervasive throughout the country.

Armed groups continued to commit numerous, serious abuses, some of which may constitute war crimes, including unlawful killings, disappearances, and torture. They also recruited and retained child soldiers, compelled forced labor, and committed serious sexual abuses and other possible war crimes.

(ST)

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  • 27 May 2016 01:20, by rossbelongstoall

    "This is not a banana republic", Really?

    If it is not a banana republic, what do you prefer to call it, a FAILED state maybe? I see no difference whatsoever!

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  • 27 May 2016 07:23, by Eastern

    The modus operandi of SPLA is far worse than what would be in a Banana Republic; soldiers don’t have food (bananas to eat), they are allowed to rape in lieu of salaries because they are far from their spouses.

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    • 27 May 2016 08:34, by Frak Cho

      Eastern, It’s a shame to argue that government soldiers are allowed to rape in lieu of salaries. To sleep with a woman needs energy and it’s unbelievable can allow this humiliating statement on and on, on a social media. Remember UN is the brief case of the Western World and UN agencies can compile any report that suit them. Have reservation of your country even if you have some bad feelings.

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      • 27 May 2016 12:06, by Eastern

        Frak Cho,

        The sooner you pull South Sudan out of the UN, the better for you and your ilk. Why did South Sudan join the UN with ignorant folks like you continuing to whine that UN is the Western World? Rape, looting and murder were committed by SPLA. This is a fact which cannot be denied.

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        • 27 May 2016 13:37, by Nyesi Ta

          Eastern, the word rape is not in Jieng vocabulary and therefore, it is a word with no meaning to them. To them if a Dinka forcefully sleeps with a woman , they call it sex, something I refer to it as down graded thinking. Wait till those they call criminals and thugs start raping Jieng women, may be that’s when they will adopt and include the word rape into their vocabulary.

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