JUBA – At least three South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) soldiers have been arrested for allegedly ambushing and looting a vehicle in Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State, Radio Tamazuj reports.
On Wednesday last week, armed men laid an ambush and shot at a commercial vehicle which they proceeded to loot but no casualties were reported.
The acting commander of the SSPDF Brigade 2 stationed in Magwi County, Col. Baptist Otto, confirmed the arrest of the soldiers and said they have been referred to Juba for further investigation.
“They robbed people, they even shot at one car. They missed shooting the women who were in the driver’s cabin. This is true. The suspects were taken yesterday (Monday), they were taken to Juba. They were in their camps of mobilization in Magwi at the old barracks of the Sudanese soldiers,” Col. Otto said
He named the arrested soldiers; Sergeant James Ohide, Regimental Sergeant Major Stephen Ohide Odong, and Captain Paul Manga Mary.
For his part, the local police inspector, Lt. Bongomin Godfrey Dorteo, said, “You know, when the incident happened, we went there the following day to make our investigations as security people and the people we have arrested are suspects and we are yet to do more investigations on whether they are the ones who ambushed the vehicle or not. We are still investigating. They will be presented in court.”
The Magwi County executive director, Ocheng David Tokwaro, commended the efforts of the army in apprehending the suspected criminals in their ranks. He said they have been suspecting the soldiers (SSPDF) of being behind the incident since the area has no rebels.
“Yes, that happened between Obbo and Magwi but closer to Magwi. I got information from our security personnel of military intelligence that they managed to apprehend them,” Tokwaro said. “These were all soldiers who were doing this. They have been arrested and now taken to Juba.”
He added: “Since we do not have rebels in this area, we were expecting them. We appreciate their work, the security personnel worked very hard. People now move without any hindrance.”
Heavy good drivers have for close to two weeks now refused to enter South Sudan and are demanding improved security. The drivers, mostly from Somalia, Kenya, and Somalia also accuse South Sudanese armed forces of extortion, multiple taxations, killings, and robbing them among other vices.
The government of South Sudan on its part blames holdout rebel groups for road ambushes, an indictment that the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) denies.