South Sudan president’s report fails to acknowledge 2013 mass killing
South Sudan's National Security Service (NSS) report on the outbreak of violence in December 2013 and July 2016 has largely focused on the government's coup allegations against First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny and Vice President Taban Deng Gai, but failed to make mention of the Juba killings that Nuer community says resulted in the slaughter of over 20,000.
JUBA – South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) report on the outbreak of violence in December 2013 and July 2016 has largely focused on the government’s coup allegations against First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny and Vice President Taban Deng Gai, but failed to make mention of the Juba killings that Nuer community says resulted in the slaughter of over 20,000.
The report, released Tuesday morning, comes a day after President Kiir directed the National Security Service to release ‘classified’ information about the genesis of the deadly violence that sparked the country’s bloody civil war in December 2013 as well as the July 2016 return to conflict in which bodyguards of FVP Machar and Kiir’s huge force fought for hours at the presidential guards in Juba.
In the report, President Kiir accused First Vice President Machar and Vice President Taban Deng Gai of being the mastermind of what the government said was a coup organized for Machar by top politicians to depose President Salva Kiir before elections. President Kiir has been accusing Machar and VP Taban of attempt to remove him from power.
But African Union investigators found no evidence of a coup attempt but instead concluded that a gunfight within the Presidential Guards was the immediate trigger for further violence in which “Dinka members of the Presidential guard and other security forces targeted Nuer soldiers and civilians… killing Nuer soldiers and civilians in and near their homes.”
The report released Tuesday by the government discredits the African Union report. It says the regional and the international communities have “ignored and rejected the statements made by GoSS upon the causes of the conflicts within the brief history of this state and a completely erroneous narrative had been promulgated that prevented it from developing as a nation on its own terms.”
The report said that South Sudan, as a result of the international community’s view of conflict in South Sudan, “found itself the subject of sanctions preventing it from acquiring military equipment necessary to protect itself from armed groups as well as restrictions that prevent it from proper commercial trading in its single most valuable resource – oil.”
The killing of Nuer civilians in December 2013 started on Monday afternoon, the 16th December, though the Nuer Community Commemorates this day on December 15 each year. A militia group known as Mathiang Anyoor, or Tit Beny (meaning ‘protect the president’) was named in the African Union report for standing behind the killing.
The numbers disputed, the Nuer Community maintains that at least 20,000 Nuer civilians were killed between December 16 and December 19. The African Union report did not provide numbers but report that “House to house searches were undertaken by security forces. During this operation male Nuers were targeted, identified, killed on the spot or gathered in one place and killed.”
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