South Sudan Government Accused of Killing Civilians in Torit
Oct 10, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— Disturbing reports emerging from South Sudan’s recently created Imatong State indicate that South Sudan forces killed civilians, mostly Equatorian children and women of families accused of supporting rebellion.
According to residence of Torit, the administrative headquarters of Imatong State, South Sudan government militias are killing civilians civilians in Torit.
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While some claim that the attack on Equatorians residence is motivated by the killing of Dinka civilians in the region, others claim that the attacks only target families whose relatives have defected Salva Kiir’s government.
According to Evans Elia, an eyewitness, who spoke to Nyamilepedia correspondent in Torit, at least 7 civilians, including a woman and her husand were killed on Sunday along Torit-Oudu road in Imatong.
“They killed 7 civilians, two children, 2 women and three unarmed men. These are Mathiang Anyoor who accused Equatorians of killing Dinka civilians as MTN” Elias said.
Another eyewitness, Christine Oduho, claims that the attacker accused the victims of harboring rebels in their homes.
“They just shot at us, saying rebels rebels. We don’t know why they kill us, this is our home. We are not rebel as you can see” Christine said while crying.
Two of the victims are Christine’s elder brothers, who just returned home from a Ugandan refugee camp.
Although these attacks have been going on and off, both the state and national government seem to be unable to control security in this region.
Within the last five days, civilians who attempted to flee Yei town where ambushed on their way by “masked armed men”, whose identity is yet to be known.
While the government accused armed groups for the attacks, SPLA-IO accused the government of staging barbaric attacks on civilians, a policy that was used in Northern Uganda to brand LRA rebels as terrorists.
The opposition is accusing the government of luring civilians to hot spots and attacking them in attempts to bran SPLA-IO as a terrorists’ organization.
“If the word terrorism derives from the act of “terror” or terrorizing innocent people or civilians for that matter, the current rogue regime of Salva Kiir is the one to be labelled as a state-sponsoring acts of terror which could be described as terrorism carried out by its terrorist-like soldiers, and not the pro-democratic forces and freedom fighters of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) as alleged by the rogue regime.” James Gatdet Dak, the Spokesman of SPLM Chairman, Dr. Riek Machar, response to government calls on the region to brand SPLM/SPLA-IO as a terrorist organization.
Based on a brutal attack on civilians bus on Juba-Yei road by unknown gunmen, the SPLA[juba] spokesman, Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Kong, calls on the region to brand SPLA-IO as a terrorist organization.
“We always tell people that Riek Machar has no programs. He has no vision. We always tell this to the international community that there will not be peace because of Riek Machar. His interest is only to return to power at expense of the suffering of the people of South Sudan. He is a violent man. So we call upon IGAD,Troika, and friends of South Sudan to declare Riek Machar’s forces as terrorists,” Koang, an ex-SPLM-IO, who is now the spokesman of government side, stressed.
In response, Mr. Gatdet fired back at the government spokesman saying that his government is known for massacring civilians in ten of thousands and the region or international community has documented that but failed to take appropriate actions.
“They have massacred tens of thousands of innocent unarmed civilians right in the capital, Juba, from 15 December 2013. They have been terrorizing civilians in Equatoria region, including letting loose their cattle to graze in the farms of the civilians, guarded by commanders.” Gatdet said.
According to reports released by the United Nations in New York, over 100 000 are stranded in the town of Yei, however, it is yet to be determined if the civilians were promised any security along the volatile Yei-Juba roads before leaving the town.
While the government spokesman blame SPLM/SPLA-IO for the attacks, the opposition also blame the government for repeated massacres of civilians.
“Yes, I would like to confirm that this unfortunate incident has occurred. It took place yesterday morning on Saturday when vehicles carrying citizens who were going to Juba came under attack. They were ambushed by the opposition at anarea called Ganyi and they killed 21 people, and about 20 others were wounded,” said Brig. Lul Ruai Kong, the SPLA spokesman.
“The forces of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) are not responsible for any attacks “targeting” civilians anywhere in the country. Their discipline and respect for civilians and their properties was witnessed by residents of Juba themselves during the July violence where all the areas they briefly controlled, including some of Gudele area, were not looted, while the regime’s forces looted every piece of civilians’ belongings they could get their fingers on. This was confirmed by their chief, Paul Malong Awan, in his recorded public statements.” Said James Gatdet Dak, the official spokesman of SPLM/SPLA-IO.