False Facebook post reason for violence escalation in South Sudan


RUCCI

RUCCI

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RUCCI

RUCCI

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A Facebook post by the Press Secretary of South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar is what caused the violence that has claimed 272 lives mostly soldiers according to South Sudan Embassy in Nairobi.

South Sudan Ambassador Chol Ajongo alleged that James Gatdet informed the army that Machar had been detained at the President’s palace, a message that was immediately acted upon with violence sending cold chills across the Capital of Juba.

“On 8th July, 2016, the SPLA-IO forces Spokesman James Gatdet, Press Secretary of Dr Riek Machar created and spread rumours that their leader Dr Riek Machar Teny was under arrest.”

According to Ajongo, Machar was on the contrary attending a security briefing meeting with President Salva Kiir, Vice President James Wani and other senior government officials at the J1, which is the presidential palace.

The meeting was being held in response to the killing of five of President Kiir’s soldiers on Thursday allegedly by Sudan People Liberation Army In Opposition (SPLA-IO).

“SPLA-IO forces proceeded to attack the government forces at J1 at 4.15 and killed many innocent soldiers.”

According to Ajongo, earlier on Friday, one of Machar’s soldiers had forced his way into the palace and after being denied access he shot at a security officer, an attack that could have provoked Machar’s spokesman to allege that he had been detained.

“One of the officers came into the palace and wanted to force his way through to where the meeting was taking place and as a result of that he was denied access to the building. He then shot the officer and the fighting broke out,” he explained.

Ajongo said President Kiir did not leave the palace following the fighting between the armies but instead ‘protected Dr Machar’s life until 11.40 pm when he personally arranged for armed security escort to take him back safely to his residence in Jebel Kujor area.’

However, the Friday violence seemed to have been a culmination of tension that began few months ago with incidences of violence which Ajongo blamed on the SPLA-IO.

“Outside Juba, over the past few months, the SPLA-IO forces and allied armed groups have been creating insecurity in several parts of South Sudan.”

He said the SPLA-IO were; “roaming the streets at night while heavily armed, without clear purpose and refusing to stop at check-points, shooting at vehicles including a vehicle of the United States of America Embassy in Juba.”

He explained that a SPLA-IO officer was killed forcing the group to carry a revenge attack that claimed lives of five government soldiers in Gudelle on July 7.

Ajongo said calm had returned in Juba following peace talks between Kiir and Machar who he says are in control of their armies, a reason they have successfully called for ceasefire.

Though most of the 272 people killed were soldiers, the ambassador said innocent civilians belonging to certain ethnic groups were killed in Jebel Dinka, Jebel Kujor, Gudelle, Yei and other parts of Juba.

“This has been confirmed by UN forces who have visited these areas to collect bodies of civilians killed by anti peace elements of SPLA-IO,” he stated.

Ajongo said President Kiir was in full control of his army but alleged that SPLA-IO had ‘divided itself into two camps with one supporting the Compromise Peace Agreement (CPA) between IO and the government and the other working hard to destroy the peace agreement.’

According to the ambassador, the split group within SPLA-IO was threatening the implementation of the CPA.

“The anti-peace elements within the SPLA-IO have continued to pursue conflict over the past few months, resulting in the current near collapse of the CPA.”

However, he indicated that President Kiir and Dr Machar were in terms and they had managed to successfully call ceasefire between their armies.

“The town is very quiet. The minister for Information has declared that Juba is peaceful and he has actually ordered that the airport and public services have to normalize today. The airport should be open today unless some airline decides not to fly to Juba,” he stated.

Source: Capital FM Kenya
 

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