Dozens of South Sudanese soldiers sentenced to death

Soldiers, accused of abuses during renewed flare-up in Juba between government troops and rebels in July, now face death

Ekip   | 23.09.2016
Dozens of South Sudanese soldiers sentenced to death


By Parach Mach

JUBA, South Sudan

Dozens of South Sudanese soldiers were sentenced to death Friday over abuses committed during the renewed flare-up in the capital Juba between government troops and former rebels in July.

The United Nations last month had accused South Sudanese government forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and former rebels backing opposition leader Riek Machar of ethnically-targeted atrocities, including extra judicial execution of civilians and rapes.

Army spokesman Brig. Lul Ruai Koang said: "Yes, the military court sentenced to death soldiers convicted of murders, rapes, including looting of civilians properties."

Koang, who spoke with Anadolu Agency via phone from Juba, said the convicted soldiers would be executed by firing squad.

According to a local media report, at least 70 seven soldiers were sentenced Friday afternoon for various crimes committed since the July violence.

Two others convicted of theft and rape, were sentenced to 14 years in prison, Koang said, adding that some soldiers were also demoted from their ranks in the army.

“The rest were convicted for looting, for selling their guns like AK-47 and PKM, and also selling their fuel that was supposed to be used by military tanks,” he added.

South Sudan has been consumed by conflict since December 2013, when President Kiir accused his former Vice President Riek Machar of plotting a coup. The fighting quickly tore the young nation apart along ethnic lines.

Two-and-a-half years of civil war has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced 2.4 million.

Hopes that the peace deal signed last August might hold have been shattered after the recent July renewed fighting killed at least 300 people and sent Machar, the main signatory to the peace accord, into exile, raising the prospects to full scale civil war.

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