February 15, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudan army (SPLA) has dismissed as reports that its forces allegedly burnt down villages in Amadi, one of the country’s newly created states, and hacked a citizen to pieces.
- SPLA soldiers in Malakal, capital of the battleground oil-state of Upper Nile on 15 May 2014 (Photo AFP/Ivan Lieman)
The deputy spokesman of pro-government forces, Col. Santo Domic Chol said the report “dangerous” propaganda being use by the armed opposition forces to “solicit sympathy from local population and to portray their forces as heartless and murderous”.
“First of all I would like to say there is nothing like that at all. No such incident has ever occurred. It is not a tradition of the SPLA. We are a national army mandated by the constitution to defend the country, the territory and to protect the lives and properties of our civil population and this is why we say you need to speak to relevant authority whenever there are such unfounded and dangerous propaganda”, Chol told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
The military officer was reacting to a report, which claimed the army allegedly shot Samuel Phillip, son of late Canon Phillip Nyadringwa, cut him into pieces and removed his intestines in Lui town, last week.
The deceased was a trader and citizen living in Lui town. The circumstance under which he was killed remains unclear. Sources in the area claims he was killed by the government forces after he was found in possession of money and refused to give them, forcing government soldiers to kill him after which his money was taken.
Another source claimed that the pro-government forces, on a mission from Lui on February 8,2017 to Jambo, burnt down more than 75 civilian houses at Doro, Buagyi and Lanyi respectively and looted food items , including cattle, forcing all civilians in these areas to run into the bushes without food, clothing and water.
Sudan Tribune was, however, unable to independently verify the authenticity of these various reports as clashes between the SPLA and the armed opposition take place in remote villages without network coverage and out of bound for journalists.
In the past, human right organizations have accused both the government forces and the armed opposition troops of carrying out atrocities, including gang rape and mass killing of innocent civilians when taking over a territory previously held by the other.