SSPDF soldiers accused of raping women, forcing kids to drink alcohol

SSPDF soldiers walking away after stealing UNICEF-issued backpacks meant for children |Photo: AlJazeera
SSPDF soldiers walking away after stealing UNICEF-issued backpacks meant for children |Photo: AlJazeera

The National Salvation Front (NAS), in its latest report, has accused the SSPDF of committing horrific crimes, including rape, forcing children to drink alcohol, and brutally mutilating civilians on ethnic grounds.

The non-signatory group strongly condemned the action and called on the ceasefire monitors to investigate the these crimes and the recent violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) in the Equatoria region.

“The Leadership of National Salvation Front (NAS) informs its members, supporters, the people of South Sudan and members of International Community about the latest violation of Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) by the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF),” the group alleged in a statement.

“On 21 st and 22nd December 2020 respectively, a force of SSPDF under Loka West detachment committed heinous crimes against civilians; raping three (3) women, maiming (7) people, forcefully making members of Revival Community of Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) to drink alcohol, looting properties and burning several huts.”

The NAS leadership pointed an accusing finger at the SSPDF for breaching the Permanent Ceasefire by committing serous crimes in different parts of the country including Western Bahr El Ghazal State.

“These crimes are serious violations of Cessation of Hostilities agreement (CoHA) which aimed at protection of civilians and provision of unhindered access to humanitarian assistance. The regime has also been flagrantly violating COHA and committing heinous human rights violation in Western Bahr el Ghazal State killing innocent civilians.”

“The Leadership of NAS condemns in the strongest possible terms these heinous crimes of the SSPDF and the regime of Salva Kiir and holds the SSPDF and the President Kiir responsible for committing ethnic-based crimes in South Sudan. It is very unfortunate and alarming that, these crimes are being committed in full glare while the peace monitors are watching and being indifferent.”

“NAS assures the people of South Sudan that the Movement will continue to struggle for their aspirations and will defend civilians whenever they are subjected to different kind of mistreatment by the regime of Salva Kiir. NAS calls on the people of South Sudan to take charge of their destiny; speak out and defend themselves against criminals of Juba regime.”

“The Leadership of NAS renews its commitment to addressing the root causes of the conflict in the country to achieve sustainable peace to creating a responsible governance system that protects civilians and deliver basic services to the people of South Sudan without ethnic, gender or regional discriminations.”

Latest: R-JMEC condemns SSPDF for accepting defections

South Sudan's armed forces holding up their guns a sign of victory | Photo: File
South Sudan's armed forces holding up their guns a sign of victory | Photo: File
South Sudan’s armed forces holding up their guns a sign of victory | Photo: File

R-JMEC | Press Statement

October, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) expresses its concern at fighting in the Yei River area, reportedly caused by the defection of a General from the SPLM/A-IO to the SSPDF.

Furthermore, RJMEC strongly condemns all loss of life and displacement of civilians, and urges the parties involved to come swiftly to the table and resolve any issues through dialogue. In this regard, we commend the ongoing efforts of the Joint Defence Board to investigate the issue and avoid the repetition of such incidents in the future.

Whether it is referred to as ‘defection’ or ‘change of allegiance’, the important point is that the Revitalised Peace Agreement in South Sudan has made commendable progress in the past two years since its signing and this must not be allowed to weaken because of instability caused by defections or accepting defections, which is contrary to the letter and spirit of the Agreement.

The joint training centre at Moroto, which was also the scene of some fighting in recent days, is one of 18 functioning training centres in South Sudan. Each training centre is a symbol of the unity which is being forged through creating a unified national army, and any threat to this is reprehensible. In this regard, I have requested CTSAMVM to investigate and report on its findings.

Whatever the source or driver of instability, RJMEC reminds all parties that the diplomatic architecture exists to manage all issues peacefully. In addition to the Revitalised Peace Agreement of 2018, there is the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of December 2017, the Rome Declaration of January 2020 and the Rome Resolution of February 2020, all of which affirm the signatories’ commitment to pursue dialogue and the protection of civilians.

As South Sudan moves into its third year of implementation of the R-ARCSS, it is clear that much remains to be done in a short time. RJMEC condemns any action by any party which detracts from the important work of peacebuilding in the country, and joins all other voices in urging constructive dialogue.

Originally published by R-JMEC 

S. Sudan’s peace in limbo as SSPDF forces clash with SPLA-IO troops

Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO Deputy Military Spokesperson briefs the media in Juba |Photo: Lam Paul
Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO Deputy Military Spokesperson briefs the media in Juba |Photo: Lam Paul

Sept 28, 2020 (Thessherald)–The SSPDF forces and opposition troops have traded accusations over a breach of a Permanent Ceasefire in Kajo-Keji County, Central Equatoria.

Lam Paul Gabriel, a senior opposition officer and Spokesperson for the SPLA-IO reported that their forces came under heavy attacks by SSPDF soldiers this morning, resulting in the death of dozens of soldiers on both sides.

“This morning the 28/09/2020, at about 6:00AM, the SPLA-IO reconnaissance unit along Kajo Keji-Morobo road was attacked by forces loyal to Maj. Gen. Moses Lokujo who recently defected to the SSPDF. This reconnaissance unit was deployed after Lokujo gave four (4) days ultimatum to the SPLA-IO forces in Kajo Keji to vacate Morota Unified Training Tentre and Kajo Keji area or face his current combined forces,” Lam explained.

“It should be noted that the SPLA-IO is not against the defections of Lokujo as it is his individual right and freedom of choice, which the leadership cannot dictate upon. However, this intended circle of violence and conspiracies aimed at derailing the implementation of the Security Arrangements will only bring more suffering to the citizens of this country than good.”

The main armed opposition group called on the CTSAMVM – a peace monitoring body – to independently investigate the matter before the situation gets out of hand.

“The SPLA-IO urges the JMCC and JDB to quickly arrest the situation in Kajo Keji so that the suffering civilians there, will go back home and continue with their normal lives. The SPLA-IO also calls upon the CTSAMVM to investigate this violations and bring those responsible to book.”

The SPLM/A-IO said it remains committed to the Permanent Ceasefire signed by the parties.

“The SPLA-IO remains committed to the implementation of the Peace Agreement. Peace.”