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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Juba citizens alerted of shooting exercises, amid speculations

August 5, 2013 (JUBA) – Residents of Juba, the South Sudan’s capital, have been informed of a shooting exercise at Luri bridge area, starting from Monday this week till Friday, the state-owned SSTV announced.

SPLA spokesperson Phillip Aguer (Reuters)
SPLA spokesperson Phillip Aguer (Reuters)
The bridge is located about 10-km west of Juba town.

The announcement, however, fell short of informing the public on which force would undertake the exercise and from what time.

But Phillip Aguer, the spokesperson of South Sudan army (SPLA) told Sudan Tribune that the shooting exercise was “normal”.

“That is a training exercise and its normal. The population should not be alarmed by what will take place”, he said by phone Monday.

Luri is the area where the President Salva Kiir’s cattle camp is situated and its where his usually spends his weekends when in Juba.

Kiir reportedly spent three days in the location after he issued the 23 July presidential decrees, which removed his deputy, Riek Machar, and dissolved the entire cabinet.

There is already a presidential guard unit inside the capital, which guards residences of the president, vice-president and other senior officials of the government.

A security source told Sudan Tribune that the chief of general staff, James Hoth Mai, disapproved of a new force, recently transferred and transported to Juba without his consent.

The bizarre move, the source disclosed, has since stained the relationship between president Kiir and the senior army official.

The whistle blower further said the president had planned to deploy these new “likely more trusted forces” inside Juba city, in case of violence, instead of the regular SPLA forces or the current presidential guards.

Many believe that the shooting exercise will be part of the military orientations to the new forces, which are yet to undergo proper military training before deployment.

South Sudan army is yet to transform into a professional national army that transcends tribalism.