HRW slams killing of civilians by security forces over land dispute

Civilians walk past burning tires during a protest in Shirkat, Juba, South Sudan on June 3, 2020.  © Private 2020

June 9, 2020 (Thessherald)–Human Rights Watch, a leading rights defender, has criticized the security forces for instigating the recent incident that led to the killing of five civilians following a dispute over a plot of land in the Shirkat suburb of Juba.

“South Sudanese security forces killed at least five people in Juba on June 3, 2020 during a violent confrontation over a land dispute and subsequent peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today,” said the rights watchdog in its statement.

It called on the authorities to independently investigate the matter that led to the violence and hold the perpetrators accountable.

“The authorities should investigate thoroughly and promptly hold those responsible to account in a transparent civilian process.”

“Government security forces are supposed to protect civilians, not kill them,” said Nyagoah Tut Pur, South Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch, “The authorities should ensure that all the officers involved in these unlawful and unjustified killings are brought to justice, through prompt, effective investigations and prosecutions.”

“Early in the morning of June 3, a violent dispute broke out in a public bus park in the Sherikat neighborhood of Juba between local residents and armed military officers led by Lieutenant Lual Akook Wol Kiir, a relative of President Salva Kiir. The dispute was over a public toilet allegedly built on private land. Media and witnesses reported that Lt. Lual and six of his officers, armed with pistols and AK-47s, opened fire randomly, killing two men and a woman on the spot, and injuring at least seven others. A fourth resident, injured by a gunshot, died on the way to a hospital,” the statement further narrated.

Last week, a group of demonstrators took to the streets in the capital, Juba, to protest against the senseless killings, demanding accountability.

Lual Marine, the ringleader behind the killing of the civilians succumbed to fatal wounds while receiving treatment in the hospital.

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