Gen. Koang: We Slain Darfur Rebels, Traders Left in January!
April 21, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan anti-government forces, under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar, the former vice president, have denied killing civilians in the recent recapture of Unity state.
A few sources have alleged that nearly 400 Sudanese traders were targeted in Bentiu town by the anti-government troops, however, it is not clear what the alleged large number of Sudanese traders waited for in the mid of conflict.
Bentiu town was overran in December by the defected SPLA division 4, under the military governor, Maj. Gen.James Koang Chuol Ranley.
The capital Bentiu, and other towns were immensely destroyed and looted during the December and January conflict. With most of the population forced to flee the major towns or taken refuge in the UNMISS camps, it is not clear where the Darfurians found safe haven to conduct businesses.
Maj.Gen. Koang Chuol Ranley has reaffirmed that there were no Sudanese civilians or traders in Bentiu as alleged by the Juba government.
“By the time we came in Bentiu for this second time there were no Sudanese civilians or traders still in Bentiu who we were aware of as they all fled in the early weeks of January 2014 when violence erupted in Bentiu,” Gen Koang explained to Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
The military governor, who believes that his forces killed over 500 government allied soldiers in Bentiu during the recent attack, admits that hired JEM mercenaries were killed in combat.
“What we know is that, yes, we killed in action armed members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) who were fighting alongside the government’s troops. They were in military uniform and participated in active combat against our forces,” he further explained.
Maj. Gen. Koang further clarified that buy cialis online low price Darfur civilians are not the enemies, even if they were caught up in the conflict his forces would only target the Sudanese rebels for involving in the South Sudanese conflict.
“We would not have killed innocent Darfur civilians. We don’t see them as our enemies. Our target are those JEM members who have decided to abandon their cause in Sudan and allowed themselves to be used as mercenaries to fight for Salva Kiir,” Koang further added.
The Sudanese rebels groups, Justice and Equality movement (JEM) and SPLA-North, have been constantly accused by the South Sudanese rebels, the SPLA [in opposition] for backing the Juba government in Bentiu and Malakal. However, JEM’s leadership has denied any involvement in the conflict.
The Sudanese rebels allegedly joined the South Sudanese conflict a few days after Uganda started participating alongside the Juba government. The Darfur rebels allegedly involved in the conflict for the same economic rhetoric that the Ugandans cite.
Darfur traders, like Ugandans, dominates businesses in Unity state, however, most foreigners including the traders and oil field workers left Unity state in December after the capital, Bentiu, was overran by division 4 commander, Maj. Gen. James Koang Chuol.
Koang has warned the Sudanese rebels a number of times to stay out of conflict, however, the Sudanese rebels hesitated.
Although Gen. Koang believes that JEM are fighting to protect the main supply rout, which runs through Unity state to the town of Kauda in Sudan, it is not clear if the rebels are funded by the Juba government or by the traders. However, SPLM -IO maintains that Juba is spending the oil money on the Sudanese and Ugandans mercenaries while the rest is embezzled by the corrupt officials.
Pariang county in South Sudan, which the SPLM-IO believes to be the JEM’s stronghold, was bombed during the first week of April by the Sudanese warplanes in persuit of the Sudanese rebels.