February 20, 2014 [CR] — “The Gallant SPLM/SPLA Forces under Overall Command of Maj. Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth in Upper Nile State were not in anyway responsible for alleged killing of civilians that took cover in holy places and other sites when our forces recaptured Malakal on Febraury 18, 2014,” he states in a statement given to Chimpreports.
“Our forces are well disciplined, operate under clear Rules of Engagament, are under strict orders not to attack or target non-military targets and this had been the trend and hallmark of thier conduct in all active fronts since the conflict began,” Gen Koang further writes.
“Reports received from our combat commanders, eyewitnesses and other reliable sources indicated that all the civilians who lost thier lives or got injured were harmed by government troops and thier allies before they fled and while fleeing.”
He says the latest “intentional killing of civilians by Kiir’s soldiers and Allies is the clearest indication yet that the government is not in full control of its own troops let alone numberous forigner merceneries (Ugandans, JEM, SPLM/A-North) and local militias under the command of Maj. Gen. Johnson Oliny”.
“These are clear signs of consistent leadership failures at the highest level and serious shortcomings in command, control and communication between and among government’s army commanders and their allies.”
International Medical Corps (IMC) reported having treated 148 people in their medical centre and losing 4 people at the same time as a result of the Tuesday military showdown between rebels and government forces.
The UNMISS base in Malakal was also caught up in the crossfire which claimed more 10 people inside the compound and left others injured.
While the government accuses rebels of causing the deaths, rebels have denied responsibility and instead accused the government forces with their allies of the same.