Malakal, January 28, 2014 (SSNA) — South Sudan’s opposition force, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) has on Tuesday said SPLA soldiers loyal to president Salva kiir has committed serious crimes in Malakal, Bentiu, and Bor towns.
The accusation comes just days after “cessation of hostilities” was signed by the two worrying factions in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
In a statement extended to the South Sudan News Agency, the SPM/A (In Opposition) military spokesman Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said Kiir’s army is conducting door-to-door killings in the capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile State, Malakal. Koang also added that there are other killings being committed by the government forces in Bor, the strategic capital of Jonglei State and Unity State capital, Bentiu.
“Reverend Daniel Giel Pal, South Sudan Presbyterian Church’s former Moderator for Upper Nile State, Chapen Gatluak Deng Garang son of former Upper Nile governor, the late Gen. Gatluak Deng Garang, a number of Medical Doctors & businessmen from the Nuer and Shulluk communities as well as Dinka from Greater Bor, and several hundreds of women & children, elderly were killed”, Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang says in statement.
“Kiir’s forces are responsible for committing atrocities against civilians not only in Malakal but also in Bentiu and Bor”, he continues.
The SPLM/A (In Opposition) also questions Kiir’s command and control, saying kiir is having hard time commanding three different armies.
“Kiir’s ability to exercise command and control over his forces and ministers had been greatly affected by the existence and presence on the ground of three armies, namely: his Private & Tribal Army, National Army and the Ugandan Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF)”, Koang added.
Koang also questions Kiir’s ability to command his forces, asserting that Uganda’s troops are the ones managing all Juba’s military operations.
“Kiir and his Chief of General Staff are literally receiving Operational orders from UPDF’s Colonel in charge of operations in the country and this partly explains the breakdown in command & control and in the chain of command”, he said.
However, South Sudan Army (SPLA) spokeperson Philip Aguer denies all the charges saying government’s forces are mandated to protect civilians not harming them.
The rebels’ statement declared that President Kiir’s forces are accountable for carnages in three states and accused Juba-backed troops of attacking their defensive positions in violation of “cessation of hostilities”. The declaration points out that government soldiers killed high profile individuals in Malakal, arguing that those killed by Kiir’s soldiers have not taken any side in the conflict.
The rebels’ military spokesman compares recent killings in three states to Juba’s killings, asserting that Kiir’s forces use Juba-style killing tactics.
The rebels called upon IGAD and the International Community to hold Kiir accountable for all the killings committed by his forces and for failing to respect the recently signed ceasefire. The statement also went in length accusing Kiir’s army of committing gruesome crimes including gang rapes in Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Unity States.