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Defense minister condemns violence at finance ministry premises

Author: Michael Daniel | Published: Saturday, February 17, 2024

General Chol Thon, the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs - Photo Credit: Office of the President - April 20, 2023

The Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs condemned the storming of the Ministry of Finance premises by members of wounded veterans demanding medical allowance on Wednesday.

At least 17 people were injured, four of whom in critical condition, following clashes between police officers and the wounded former army combatants protesting at the ministry’s premises.

According to police spokesperson Maj General Daniel Justin, the police and former soldiers used stones, sticks, and machetes to fight one another.

Following the incident, Defense Minister General Chol Thon Balok says his administration will launch a full investigation on the matter.

He added that the Ministry of Finance used to pay the wounded heroes’ medical allowance directly without the involvement of his ministry.

“The leadership of the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs regret and condemn, in its strongest term possible, the violence,” Thon told SSBC on Friday.

He said the South Sudan People’s Defense Force does not allow the men in uniform to protest, as well as the wounded heroes, whom he said are in the active payroll of the army.

“The Ministry of Defense appreciates the sympathy extended to the wounded heroes by the Ministry of Finance and Planning and we emphasize the need for accountability, which was agreed in the meeting of two institutions last year in November, represented by the defence and right now.”

The war-wounded heroes, a group of physically challenged former combatants, have stormed the Ministry of Finance premises several times, demanding the expeditious payment of their medical allowances.

In March 2023, scores of the former combatants closed ranks and charged at the finance ministry headquarters in Juba to demand their 10 million dollars of medical allowances.

This prompted the ministers of defense and finance to meet in November 2023 and agree to pay the medical allowances of the disabled veterans.

 

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