South Sudan main opposition demands investigations into attacks in Unity State

By Simon Deng

South Sudan’s main opposition group in the peace implementation is demanding from peace monitors in the country to investigate ongoing violence in Leer County of Unity State.

“We condemn that and we also write a report to CTSAMVM and Reconstituted Joint Monitoring Evaluation commission (RJMEC) to investigate this issue,” Puok Both Baluang, the Press Secretary in the office of the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar said by phone in Juba on Tuesday.

“It is a direct violation to cessation of hostilities agreement and also a violation of ceasefire agreement,” he said.

According to Baluang, Machar met both RJMEC and CTSAMVM led Charles Tai Gituai, the chairperson for RJMEC over the fighting and demanded an investigation.

On Monday, Baidit Dak, a member of the revitalized Transitional Legislative Assembly representing Leer County urged President Salva Kiir to intervene to stop the ongoing violence which involves attacks on civilians and their properties.

Baluang said the violence started when the government army, South Sudan People’s Defense Force attacked the SPLM-IO at Mirmir cantonment site in Koch County.

The army has however denied involvement with spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang blaming the SPLM-IO and a splinter group called the Kitgwang faction for the clashes.

But Baluang refuted the denial.

“There are no Kitgwang forces at all in the area,” he said.

“The SSPDF forces under Lt. Col. Werial Thiang and the commissioner of Koch County, Koang Biel conspired regarding the attacks. They launched attacks on the villages in Leer County, they have burnt down houses, they have killed several civilians and they have looted even the UN storage in the area.”

Baluang said President Kiir has appointed Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the Minister of Presidential Affairs to head a committee to investigate the violence, a committee that will include two members from the SPLM-IO.

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