9th December 2023
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Leer prison-break suspects on trial at Bentiu court

Author: Moyo Jacob | Published: Saturday, June 18, 2022

Map of Leer County. | File photo

The military court martial in Bentiu of Unity State has on Friday convened the hearing in the case of three SSPDF soldiers accused of killing two police officers in Leer County.

In March this year, the army officers from Muom training center reportedly stormed Leer town to forcefully abduct a suspect who was in prison for murder.

According to the authorities in Leer, suspect Mayen Kuol, an armed civilian was detained for allegedly murdering combatant Mut Kubai along the highway from Muom training center to Leer town on 26th of January.

He was then arrested during a two-day search and was awaiting trial in detention.

However, a unit of the soldiers reportedly took the law into their own hands after claiming delayed justice for their colleague.

The officers, alleged to be under the command of Brigade 12 commander in the area took the decision to break into the prison cell to take away the suspected killer of their colleague.

The incident escalated into a deadly gunfire, after some police officers guarding the prison tried to resist their intended mission.

Two of the police officers were shot dead and two others from the attackers suffered severe wounds during the gunfire that was at proximity.

The suspects arraigned in court are Col. Gatkuoth Dieng, Capt Kerebino Ruai and Ruai Gatkuoth.

Captain Paul Gatluak is the Chief Prosecutor for the Mobile Court in Bentiu.

“These are the people who went at that time to Leer in order to take the person who is in the prison there by force. Of course, there were two officers from Police who were killed and two soldiers from the side of attackers got injuries,” he said.

He told Eye Radio, the army officers will be punished accordingly if found guilty of killing the police officers.

“If they are found guilty, they will be punished accordingly and in accordance with the rule of the general court martial,” said the Chief Prosecutor of the military court.

Meanwhile, Leer Police Commissioner George Kong told Eye Radio at the time, that the army commander ordered his soldiers to shoot the officers after they questioned him for removing a murder suspect from prison.

The prime suspects in the killing were later arrested and transported to the state capital Bentiu, where they are now being tried at a court martial.

Muom is a training center where thousands of unified peace forces awaiting graduation, are stationed, and Leer is the administrative capital of the county.

Criminal cases involving military officers, civilians and law enforcement agencies are commonly reported across the country.

A civil society activist attributed the situation to failure of law enforcement agencies and local governments to mediate civil – military disputes.

Early this month, a court martial in Yei River County of Central Equatoria State started hearing on eleven cases of murder and six rape cases allegedly perpetrated by SSPDF soldiers in the area.



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