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S. Sudan armed opposition say targeted by state agents

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July 5, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s armed opposition officials allied to the country’s First Vice-President, Riek Mahcar have listed five incidences in which their officers were allegedly shot and killed by state agents, contrary to provisions of the peace agreement.

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SPLM-In Opposition (IO) forces gather outside capital Juba, April 7, 2016 (Photo Reuters/Jok Solomun)

Such acts, they warned, could sabotage the “shaky” peace deal signed in August 2015.

“National security agents shot [at] our cars and [were] firing random bullets even near the residence of the 1st Vice President,” wrote Colonel William Gatjiath Deng, the armed opposition (SPLM-IO) spokesman in an email to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

In one such incident, Deng claimed, “National Security [agents] shot the car of the 1st Vice President at Gudele road” on 16 June, 2016.

“Shot(s) [were] also [fired at] the car of the share command Cdr. John Mabiek Gaar at Mongateen on 19/6/2016,” he further wrote.

Separately, Deng said, SPLM-IO officer, Lt. Col. George Alex Sandra was killed “while he was found sitting with his brothers” on 2 July.

“[They] shot him and took him away and brought his body back at night and place it at the Juba Teaching Hospital,” he claimed.

The shooting of Col. George raised lots of tension in Juba over the weekend and threatened to escalate the violent in the capital.

The SPLM-IO, under the peace agreement, maintains a separate army and is commanded by Machar who returned to Juba in April to be part of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

A joint police unit, to be drawn from the SPLM-IO and those loyal to President Salva Kiir, is yet to be trained to take control of Juba security.

According to Deng, the armed forces under President Kiir were allegedly exploiting the current vacuum to intimidate their opponents.

“They have planned to assassinate all former National Security and IM officers and personnel who deserted to the SPLA-IO,” he claimed.

The military official, further called on the regional and international partners in the peace process to put pressure on the parties to respect the ceasefire and implement the agreement.

But his claims that there are 137 SPLM-IO members in government detention centers across the country whose fate remained unknown could not be independently verified.

The spokesperson for the army, Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang declined to comment on the SPLM-IO’s allegations when contacted on Tuesday.

(ST)

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