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SSPDF accused of military offensive against civilians in Central Equatoria

Juba, South Sudan, 27 May 2021 – The South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF) has been accused by the National Salvation Front (NAS) of perpetrating armed violence against defenseless civilians in Central Equatoria State.

Former Deputy Chief of Staff of South Sudan People Defense Force(SSPDF), Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka, Chairman and Commander in Chief of NAS/A(Photo credit: Nyamilepedia)
Former Deputy Chief of Staff of South Sudan People Defense Force(SSPDF), Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka, Chairman and Commander in Chief of NAS/A(Photo credit: Nyamilepedia)

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Suba Samuel Manase, NAS Spokesman said civilians are facing arbitrarily arrest, looting of their belongings, and plundering of their shelters by members of SSPDF.

In a statement seen by Nyamilepedia, Manashe said 20 people have been arrested and their huts were burned to ashes by SSPDF in the area around Wounduruba on the 23rd of May, he also claimed that at least 30 people were arrested in Rudu village on the 24th of May 2021.

“The government forces displaced the whole (Rudu) village and forced some civilians to escort them to where NAS bases are; risking the lives of these civilians since they were being used as a human shield,” Menashe alarmed.

The NAS spokesman also stressed that more than 100 families have been forced to abandon the Ombaci area after their huts were burnt to ashes.

“This SSPDF strategy is aimed at uprooting all civilians from their villages and to force them to live in government-controlled towns as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) while forcing others to flee and cross the international borders into refugee camps,” he said.

The rebel official added that his force is monitoring these developments and warned that their forces will respond in self-defense when provoked.

Manashe reaffirmed their commitment to the cessation of hostilities as provided in the Saint Egidio-mediated Rome Declaration of 20th January 2020.

When contacted by Nyamilepedia for comments, SSPDF Spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai was equivocal in his response.

“I have put a statement to the leadership, let me check the content and get back to you,” Ruai said over the phone. When called again 10 minutes later, he said he was for a meeting.

The action perpetrated against civilians, whether by SSPDF or NAS, could bolster the position of the United Nations Security Council in maintaining an arms embargo against South Sudan.

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