Some youths from Lakes state have reportedly blocked the road between Juba and Rumbek following the killing of a popular traditional wrestler from the area, the SSPDF has said.
25-year-old Abun Long was shot dead by the army on December 30, in what the SSPDF described as retaliatory gunfire.
The family of Abun accused the SSPDF of targeting and killing the wrestler while crossing the road in Awerial County.
“It is the army that had the intension of killing our son, they killed him intentionally, for no known-reason,” the family said.
But the SSPDF claimed some of its soldiers travelling in a LandCruiser vehicle came under attack by the armed youths -prompting them to shoot back.
“There was no chance for negotiations, and for the military -if you fall into an ambush, the first thing you should do is to protect yourself,” the acting SSPDF spokesperson argued.
The soldiers eventually killed Abun Long on the spot.
“So during the self-protection, one of the guys from Aliab, unfortunately, was killed and he is one of our wrestlers who used to wrestle here in Juba,” Brigadier General Santo Domic confirmed.
But Lino Alony who is a family member to the late Abun said the SSPDF soldiers were not provoked by the youths.
“When the army land cruiser arrived, youths were crossing the road, and soldiers started firing them. Abun Long was shot and he died immediately while crossing the road,” he told Eye Radio.
However, Brigadier Santo Domic still disputes the narrative by Abun’s family, insisting that the soldiers were ambushed by the armed youths.
“The car came at the time when youths from Aliab were persuing their raided cattle by Atuot, so when they heard the [army] car coming, they immediately laid an ambush, and then the youths opened fire.”
Brigadier Santo Domic added that tensions between the army and youths are still high in the area.
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