The SSPDF spokesperson denied labeling the Bari people as rebels and called for a joint investigation into the recent insecurity in the Mangala area in Juba County.
Major General Lul Ruai is reacting to allegations by the Bari leadership that he uttered an irresponsible statement about the December clashes in the Mangala area.
The Bari leadership press release dated 30th December 2022, signed by the chairperson stated that cattle keepers attacked several villages in Mangala on the 10th, 12th, 17th 24th, and 27th of December last year.
Some of the areas the community leader cited included Loggo, Jokoki, Mankaro, Tukor, Garbu, Malang, Jabur, among others.
According to the Bari leader, the youth in the areas acted in self-defense.
But Stephen Pitia said the army spokesperson Major Lul Ruai Koang issued a discriminatory, irresponsible, and baseless statement about the incidents.
Lul’s press release dated 26 December, stated that an SSPDF Mobile Infantry Unit stormed NAS bases near Mankar Islands of Managala on Christmas eve.
According to him, the units managed to neutralize five rebels and recovered 30 rounds of 82 mortars from 1,000 individual trenches.
He went on to state that the SSPDF was still carrying out an offensive against NAS rebels on several Islands in Mangala area.
However, the Bari leadership said the areas were occupied by the natives who were displaced because of an offensive by the army.
According to the statement, Lul Ruai labeled the locals as rebels and was favoring the other party to the conflict.
Speaking during a press conference 10 January 2023 at the SSPDF Headquarters, Lul denied the allegations.
“The SSPDF general headquarters didn’t label the Bari Community as NAS rebels,” said Gen. Lul.
“In the statement which I have signed, we made it very clear that there are some islands between Juba and Mangala that are being inhabited by NAS. That there is a presence of NAS on some of the islands,
“We did not say members of Bari Community that are staying in those islands are NAS rebels,
“He [Bari Community leader] had accused us of shelling islands that are being inhabited by civilians from the Bari Community, we are saying no!
“After our Reece was ambushed, reinforcement was sent, we engaged those who ambushed our force, and our security personnel pursued them, and we ended up shelling them where they had hit on the island.”
To ascertain the matter, Lul Ruai called for a joint verification of the facts on the ground.
“It is only now that we have come to give our side of the story on the statement released by the Bari community chairperson. For us to prove them wrong or them to prove us wrong, it is only the fact-finding mission that will clear the air and determine who is guilty in terms of saying this and that,” Gen. Lul said.
Asked what next, Major General Lul Ruai threatened to action against the Bari community.
“There are two or three causes of actions that could be taken. He [Bari community leader] could be forgiven for saying what he doesn’t know. Like Jesus said Lord forgive them for they do not know what they are doing, that is one option. Secondly, SSPDF is an institution and before the law, an institution has the right to sue or to be sued.”
Published 4 mins ago
Published 46 mins ago
Published 2 hours ago
Published 3 hours ago
Published 21 hours ago
Published 21 hours ago
Support Eye Radio, the first independent radio broadcaster of news, information & entertainment in South Sudan.
Make a monthly or a one off contribution.
Copyright 2024. All rights reserved. Eye Radio is a product of Eye Media Limited.