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Pay soldiers, end night crimes, gov’t told

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Some members of the public have yet again criticized the government over irregular payment of salaries for the organized forces, saying it has contributed to insecurity in the capital, Juba.

Government employees have often complained about little pay, which they say is not paid out on time.

Since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013, soldiers have been accused of looting and disobeying lawful orders.

Many Juba residents often report incidents of armed robbery carried out by men in uniform.

They say some robbers demand money and electronics; while others take away food items such as flour, oil and beans.

President Salva Kiir and Defense Minister Kuol Manyang also confirmed this by publicly saying that these are members of the National Security, police service and SSPDF, whom they say are weak-hearted.

But those who spoke to Eye Radio say the government can easily address the issue by paying salaries for the armed personnel.

“They are suffering a lot. You can see our soldiers can even spend like five or six months without salaries yet they are doing the work of the government,” a caller told Dawn.

In August, the retired Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, Daniel Deng Bul, appealed to the government to offer soldiers basic services in an attempt to reduce criminal activities in the country.

“There is no trust between the civilians and police and the other security officers because they are the once threatening and harassing people,” Joh Juma (not real name), adding that he was once robbed of his cellphone by an armed soldier in Juba.

Some citizens accused the ministry of defense of having a hand in the suffering of the soldiers.

“They’re supposed to increase the salaries of the soldiers such that they become happy with their duties,” another Eye Radio listener suggested.

In July, the national parliament refused to deliberate on the 2019/2020 financial year budget unless the Ministry of Finance clear salaries for all civil servants.

The matter was later resolved with a four months’ salary payment.

However, most of the arrears remain unpaid and civil servants are said to still experience continuous late payment of salaries and poor living conditions.

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