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S.Sudan orders execution of soldiers for murder, rape

President Salva Kiir says 'getting rid of bad elements through capital punishment will free his country from such vices'

S.Sudan orders execution of soldiers for murder, rape File photo

By Parach Mach

JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Monday afternoon ordered the country’s defense minister and his army chief of staff to execute soldiers for crimes including murder, rape against civilians.

President Kiir issued the order while addressing a gathering in Yei town, less than 60 miles (around 96.5 km) away from capital Juba where he paid a visit upon the invitation of the Episcopal church of Sudan and South Sudan to celebrate 100 years of existence.

Kiir was accompanied by top government officials and army officers.

According to a local online radio, he said "getting rid of bad elements" through capital punishment will free the country from such vices.

"Let us do one thing; we get rid of bad elements amongst us and we remain clean, pure and perfect.

"From today onward, if such a thing happens, I want them to bring me a report that somebody has committed such a crime and has been shot," the president said.

In last September, South Sudanese military court sentenced dozens of soldiers to death, jailed others for crimes committed during the renewed flare-up in the capital between government troops and former rebels in July 2016.

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.

Almost three years of civil war has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced 2.4 million in a conflict characterized by human rights abuses.

Uniformed fighters -- including those from the government army -- killed, raped and stole from civilians during and after the clashes, Human Rights Watch said in a report last year.

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