JUBA – South Sudan army has kidnapped over 50 innocent civilians including children and women in separate incidents in the country’s Central Equatoria state, according to the National Salvation Front (NAS) led by General Thomas Cirilo Swaka.
Though Sudans Post could not independently verify the incidents in which the army carried out the alleged kidnapping, hostilities have seen escalation in Central Equatoria state between government forces and holdout opposition groups.
In a statement, Samuel Suba, the spokesman of NAS, said South Sudan People’s Defense Forces has continued to committee atrocities against civilians despite the recommitment of the parties to the ceasefire agreement signed in 2017 in January in Italy.
“The Leadership of National Salvation Front (NAS) informs its members, supporters, the people of South Sudan and members of International Community about the on-going South Sudan People’s Defense Force SSPDF atrocities and human rights violations being committed against innocent civilians in Central Equatoria State CES,” the statement extended to Sudans Post reads in part.
“On 23rd May 2021, the SSPDF around Wounduruba area arrested Twenty (20) women, looted civilian property and torched huts. Similarly on 24h May 2021, in Rudu village in the outskirt of Lainya town, the SSPDF arrested more than Thirty (30) civilians, equally looted all their properties, displaced the whole village and forced some civilians to escort them to where NAS bases are; risking the lives of these civilians since they were been used as human shield,” the statement added.
It said South Sudan army Yei river county “displaced more than hundred (100) families in Ombaci area, similarly burning down several huts belonging to these civilians.”
“This SSPDF strategy is aimed at uprooting all the civilians from their villages and to force them to live in the government-controlled towns as Internal Displaced persons (IDPS), while forcing others to flee and cross the international borders into refuge.
“The government of Salva Kiir as well as the government of Central Equatoria State is accusing the civilians in the villages of supporting to pursue the policy of uprooting and punishing civilians.
“Secondly, the government is carrying out the displacement strategy to allow access to their proxy militia forces to achieve the government current mission of creating intra and inter-tribal conflict in South Sudan; and subsequently to keep the communities busy fighting each other and to prevent them from paying attention to national issues and the failure of the government in Juba.
“The leadership of NAS assures all its members and supporters that, NAS forces are following all this development keenly and will not relent in defending the civil population. NAS reiterates its commitment to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed on 21st December 2017 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, and to the Rome Declaration signed on 20th January 2020 in Rome Italy. NAS however, reserves the right to self-defense.”