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South Sudan wounded war veterans clash with security over medical benefits

South Sudan security on Wednesday clashed with wounded war veterans in attempt to disperse them as they demanded their medical benefits.

The clashes which took place at the premises housing the national ministry of finance and planning, left scores of people on both sides injured in Juba,the capital of South Sudan, the ministry of finance said in a statement.

“This morning, an unfortunate incident occurred at the premises of the ministry of finance and planning, involving a group of self-proclaimed wounded heroes. These individuals forcefully entered the ministry’s premises demanding payment for their medical benefits,” it said

It noted that the injuries came as a result of physical clashes involving stones, sticks and crutches, adding that no live bullets were fired at the protestors.

“This situation stems from long-standing misunderstanding where it has been falsely propagated that the ministry has a dedicated budget for such medical claims. We wish to clarify that this information is not accurate,” it said.

It disclosed that the medical benefits of the wounded heroes falls under the budget for the South Sudan ministry of defense and veterans affairs

“The government not foreign donors support the medical benefits of our veterans, and these are managed outside the conventional budgetary allocations of the ministry of defense and veterans affairs,” it disclosed.

The ministry revealed that in November 2023 and in January 2024, it released 2 million U.S dollar and 1 million dollar respectively to the account of the ministry of defense and veterans affairs for the purpose of addressing the medical benefits of the wounded war veterans.

“The ministry of finance wishes to make it clear that the responsibility for managing the affairs of our wounded heroes, lies with the ministry of defense and veterans affairs. It is to this entity that grievances should be directed,which will then coordinate with ministry of finance for the settlement of any claims as budgeted,” it said.

It appealed to the affected employees to return to work within the premises of the ministry of finance, while assuring them of their safety following what it referred as “regrettable incident”.

South Sudan’s economy is reeling from high inflation that has caused the South Sudan Pound to depreciate to its lowest value against the dollar since independence in 2011.

The SSP is trading with the dollar at 1200 SSP in the black market.

The disruption to oil production caused by years of conflict since December 2013, have left the government unable to pay salaries of civil servants and organised forces on time.

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