SPLM-IO Condemns ‘systematic massacres’ against civilians in Southern Unity State

Women who fled Mayendit rest in a shelter in Ganyiel. (photo credit: Albert Gonzalez Farran/For The Washington Post)

Women who fled Mayendit rest in a shelter in Ganyiel. (photo credit: Albert Gonzalez Farran/For The Washington Post)

May 2nd 2018 (Nyamilpedia) – The main armed opposition movement SPLM-IO under the leadership of South Sudan’s former First Vice President Riek Machar Teny on Wednesday condemned what it referred to as “systematic massacres” against civilians by the government in southern Unity State.

In a press statement extended to the Nyamilepedia on Wednesday, the group said it condemns the government-led massacres in the southern part of Unity State while accusing the government of “intentionally” subjecting the civilians to extrajudicial killings among other crimes.

“SPLM/SPLA (IO) condemns in the strongest term possible the ongoing systematic massacres and the alarming rate of atrocities committed against civilians in the southern part of Unity State. The governement is intentionally subjecting civilians to extrajudicial killings, abductions, gang-rape [ing] of women and girls, mass displacement and scorched-earth policy,” the statement read in part.

The statement revealed that it has recently intercepted radio communication messages during a government distribution process of ammunition.

“Recently, radio communication messages (message numbers: 030/4/2018. 032/4/2018, 008/4/2018, 006/4/2018) were intercepted when the regime’s forces were distributing ammunition and fuel to its various forces in Unity State with the intention to conduct a joint operation to supposedly dislodge the SPLM/A (IO) forces in the area so they would control the road to Leer ahead of the rainy season,” the statement said.

The statement dated 2nd of May 2018 and signed by the group’s deputy military spokesman Col. Lam Paul Gabriel said the government operations instead targeted civilians from the two counties of Mayendiit and Leer as the later is the hometown of the SPLM-IO chairman Riek Machar Teny.

“Unfortunately, these operations which were planned, coordinated and administered by the unpopular government of Salva Kiir and Taban Deng Gai disproportionately target civilians in Leer and Mayendit simply because it is where Dr Riek Machar Teny, the Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/A (IO) hails from,” the statement alleged.

The armed group said the ongoing military offensives and operations against areas under their control is inline with President Kiir’s speech which  the president uttered during the funeral of the late SPLA Chief of Defense forces at Dr John Garang de Mabior Mausoleum in Juba last week pointing out that the “controversial” governor of Northern Liech State ordered his troops to attack opposition areas around Bentiu as good gesture to president’s directives to crush the rebellion.

The statement revealed that government soldiers stationed there are HIV/AIDS positive deployed in the area to intentionally infect the people in the two areas of Leer and Mayendit as another mean of depopulation.

“We are also reliably informed that most of the government soldiers who are stationed in Leer to rape women and girls are HIV/AIDS positive and deliberately taken to infect the civilians with this sickness and other infectious diseases; which is another means of depopulating ethnic communities affiliated to Dr. Riek Machar,” the statement said.

It said that the group is informing the world through the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which is  mediating peace deal between the warring sides about the ongoing atrocities committed by the government pointing out that details of the level of atrocities committed by the government against the civilians will be be brought to light following this statement and this will includes the number of civilian casualties, number of women and girls raped and their location.

It added that villages in Leer and Mayendit alike have been set alight by the government troops.