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‘Kiir, Malong not responsible for July violence,’ says SPLA

Author : | Published: Sunday, September 11, 2016

The SPLA has refuted claims that the President and the chief of General staff were responsible for deadly fighting at the presidential palace in July.

Last week, a team of UN experts said the violence was “directed by the highest level” of the country’s military, and not the former Vice President Dr Riek Machar as earlier believed.

It stated that President Salva Kiir was involved in the fighting on July 8, which included aerial attacks and artillery bombardments.

In response, the SPLA spokesperson, Brigadier General Lul Ruai, describes the UN report as “irresponsible”.

“The SPLA would like to announce to the whole world that the irresponsible statement confirms UN continuation of negative smear campaign against the top leadership of the military,” Brig-Gen Ruai told the media in Juba on Saturday.

“Sincerely speaking, we had been expecting the UN body to commend the SPLA under the command of General Paul Malong Awan for admonishing leadership command and control as well as taking the lead for wrongdoers to be held accountable.”

The UN experts’ finding dismissed suggestions that the fighting in Juba was carried out by rogue elements in the military, as was earlier believed.

At least 300 people were killed between 8 and 11 July.  Thousands fled to the neighboring countries.

The experts accused the SPLA of committing heinous crimes against civilians and aid workers.

It said a group of soldiers gang-raped and beat aid workers in a “well-coordinated attack” on a Juba housing compound.

But the army argues that the crimes were committed by rogue individual soldiers, some of whom have been court martialed for various criminal charges.

“As shown by the following examples: one, issuing of return to barracks and shot to kill orders, establishment of general court martial which has successfully tried and convicted over 60 SPLA soldiers accused of offences  ranging from murder, looting, loitering and random shooting,” Brig-Gen Ruai continued.

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