Some of the criminals behind night robberies in Juba are members of the organized forces, the Minister of Defense has told Eye Radio.
The remarks come amid complaints by Juba residents that there is a growing insecurity in the capital, characterized by looting, beating, raping, and even killing, by men in military and police uniform.
The latest reported incident is that of New Site in which two people were killed and a young woman raped during robbery incident on Sunday.
In an interview with Eye Radio on Tuesday evening, Kuol Manyang said some of the soldiers-turned-criminals include national security, police, and military intelligence officers.
“The crimes are committed by weak-hearted people,” Mr Manyang said. “One was arrested and he was able to reveal the rest; and they have been arrested with a gang made up of elements from military intelligence, Tiger, Presidential Guards, National Security, and Police.”
He said some of the suspects are senior military officials.
“They have somebody with a rank of lieutenant-colonel, a captain, another one is a sergeant,” he continued.
The minister said the unnamed men will be “court-martialed” soon:
“They are now under custody, pending investigation and trial.”
Defense Minister Kuol Manyang added that arrests made are part of the government’s efforts to improve the security situation in the country, particularly the capital, Juba.
However, some senior government officials have blamed the rising men-in-uniform-committed crimes on the economic crisis, citing little pay, coupled with delayed payment of salaries of government employees in general.
Last week, President Kiir told a western radio that the soldiers are “volunteers”.
“These soldiers are volunteers, who volunteered their lives to fight for the liberation and independence of their own country. They fought for 21 years without any salary. There is no difference today,” President Kiir told Deutsche Welle Africa in an exclusive interview.