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Angry soldiers open pay protest gunfire in Pochalla

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Tuesday, June 2, 2020

A group of soldiers stationed at Pochalla in Pibor Administrative Area fired shots in the air on Monday to protest their unpaid salaries.

The former commissioner of the area said the soldiers, using light and heavy weapons, shot in the air during the morning parade, causing panic in the town.

The soldiers said they have not been given food or paid their dues for months, Tony Thopia, quoted the men and women as saying.

“Their commander tried to convince them, but they defied the order…and continued to shoot anyhow for almost four hours,” Thopia told Eye Radio on Tuesday.

They allegedly used guns such as AK-47 and PKM.

Calm returns

Thopia, however, said calm was restored after a plane carrying their pay landed in Pochalla later that day.

“But right now, the food was brought plus the salaries for three months. Now the situation is calm.”

The SSPDF headquarters is yet to confirm the salary payment.

Soldiers often complain of delayed payment of their salaries, a situation the government attributed to lack of money.

However, South Sudan pumps about 180,000 barrels per day.

Several reports carried out by anti-corruption campaign groups show that concerned government institutions do not gazette oil proceeds.

This, they say, encourage corruption, with billions of dollars stolen from public coffers over the years.

A recent report by The Sentry revealed that senior military leaders have enriched themselves during the five-year civil war, while soldiers suffer(ed) lacked of supplies and delayed payment of salaries.

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