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President Kiir denies forming a private army

Author : | Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

President Salva Kiir speaks at a past function | Credit | Eye Radio

President Salva Kiir has denied claims by Dr. Riek Machar that he formed a private army to protect his Presidency before the mid-December incident.

Last year, the media quoted several officials and activists, including former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, as saying President Kiir had ordered the recruitment and training of young men from the greater Bahr el Ghazal region as presidential guards.

However, President Kiir told a youth rally in Juba over the weekend that he only approved the recruitment of young men as reserves in the army.

He denied forming his own private army.

“We had agreed all that we will have to recruit young people for military service,” said President Kiir.

“They were recruited. Is it because they were recruited in Bhar el Ghazal, in Lakes, in Western Bhar el Ghazal, in Warrap and Northern Bhar el Ghazal states that they are saying it is my private army?

“When Riek rebelled, is it not the same army that has been brought to fight? Yet they were denied arms, they were not being given salaries, they were not being given food, but they were fed by the people.”

Mr President said the youth who were recruited are fighting forces of Dr. Riek Machar in different states in the country.

“Who are those fighting now in Unity State, who are those fighting in Upper Nile and who are those fighting today in Jonglei? – These are the people that were recruited,” he explained.

“I did not get a country without reserve soldiers. Without a reserve you cannot encounter any threat, and this is what happened.”

President Salva Kiir said South Sudan needs to set up army reserves that will be used for the defense of the country, when it is faced with a threat that destabilizes the economy and the lives of the citizens.

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