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Bilpam re-ignites call to relocate army away from civilian areas

Author: Moyo Jacob Felix | Published: Monday, February 26, 2024

Ruins of armory blast at Giada Military Barrack in Juba. (Photo: Michael Daniel).

The spokesperson of South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF) reiterated an appeal to the state governors and chief administrators to allocate lands to host military facilities away from civilian populations.

Major General Lul Ruai Koang made the appeal after an ammunition depot caught fire on Saturday, sending waves of explosions that terrified Juba residents and injured nearly 10 people.

General Lul reported that the incident injured 8 people including a six-month old baby and a pregnant woman, who later had a miscarriage.

The army spokesperson says the firestorm which destroyed the store, was caused by the extreme heatwaves affecting the country.

Addressing the media, Gen Lul Ruai reiterated an appeal for allocation of land for military facilities far away from civilian areas in order to avoid such risk.

“Military area is dangerous because of the nature of our equipment. Our equipment requires to be in a place that is only inhabited by the military, not by civilians,” he said.

“There was an appeal by the Honorable Minister of Defense to the governments of the ten states, as well as the three administrative areas for them to consider giving us land.”

“Enough land for us to house their uniform services, enough land far away from population setters so that they set up their barracks, ammunition depots, fuel depots off residential areas for themselves and their family.”

General Ruai also encouraged civilians living very close to the Giada barrack and other military barracks across the country.

He further said it is high time that the state governors consider that request.

In October 2023, Defense Minister General Chol Thon Balok, requested a Council of Ministers meeting to approve the allocation of land for army barracks away from the civilian population in the states and administrative areas.

General Balok said an army should not be mingling with civilians in towns and cities, but that it should be based in remote locations where it can protect the country.

Information Minister Michael Makuei, who briefed journalists after the cabinet meeting chaired by President Kiir, said the request was “respected” and approved.




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