SSPDF soldier goes missing while burning charcoal for living

South Sudanese soldiers walk away after ransacking backpacks provided by the UNICEF |Photo: AlJazeera

A 34-year-old soldier has gone missing while burning and collecting charcoal for a living in the bush around Juba, according to his family, who took to social media calling for help.

The man, identified as Dut Garang, “left the house at 8: 00 on Saturday morning and has not returned so far,” said his elder daughter in an exclusive interview with Thessherald.

“We have been everywhere since Saturday evening, hoping to find his whereabouts in the nearby jungle, but he was nowhere to be found,” she said.

Dut is one of the 80% of the country’s national army who have turned to hard manual labor as a way to support their starving families.

In 2018, President Kiir instructed military commanders to discourage soldiers from cutting and burning trees for charcoal. However, the order has not been enforced.

As a result of the conflict that has engulfed the country, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) are the lowest-paid army force in the world.

For months, South Sudanese soldiers have gone without salaries as the country continues to grapple with unprecedented economic crisis.

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