JUBA – South Sudan’s Vice-President Taban Deng Gai has suggested that the government buy off weapons from civilians’ hands; something the vice-president said will help the government achieve the disarmament program without casualties.
This was echo by President Salva Kiir in July when he told a Kenyan TV that “The only way to get them out is buying off from them – that is to tell a person that ‘If you give us your guns, you will be given this’.”
A 2020 forceful disarmament conducted by the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) in August last year sparked deadly fighting between the army and civilians in Tonj of Warrap state resulting in heavy casualty on the army.
First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny also said he do not agree with a forced disarmament and suggested, in August that the government buys off the arms from civilians to avoid casualties.
Speaking during the opening session of the 5th Governors’ Forum in Juba on Tuesday, Taban said the government should buy the weapons from the civilians, but should then destroy them to avoid the guns being taken by the civilians again.
“My personal opinion is this time when we collect them from the civilians, we don’t put them in stores, because if we put them in stores, they go back to the hands of civilians again. This time let us destroy them,” VP Taban said.
“Those who will surrender their riffles peacefully, we should give them a token even $10, $50, $100 that is enough for them but we must destroy these arms,” the senior government official said.