SSPDF “yet to receive reports on Kajo Keji killings”

SSPDF “yet to receive reports on Kajo Keji killings”
The spokesperson of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), Maj Gen Lul Ruai Koang. [Photo: Courtesy]

The South Sudan People’s Defence Force (SSPDF) is yet to receive any report linking its officers to the killing of civilians in Kajo Keji County.

Speaking to The City Review, the SSPDF Spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai, said Bilpham was still in the dark over the recently alleged crime.

According to media reports, an SSPDF officer died under mysterious circumstances on Thursday morning after consuming liquor the previous night.

The reports alleged that his death angered some members of the forces who went round and whisked away three young men within the neighbourhood and executed them in the forests.

“Yesterday, May 26, 2022, seven soldiers from the government forces of South Sudan found their friend who was drunk the previous night dead, and then the seven soldiers came to Kari Boma here and arrested three people,” an anonymous told the media.

“Ten minutes after they were taken, we heard gunshots and when we went to the scene one hour later, we found out that they were all killed. On returning to the barrack, the soldiers took three other women with them including a sister of one of the victims.”

When The City Review reached out to Maj Gen Lul over the matter, he replied, “I have no information about what happened and today (Sunday) is a weekend [so there is] ]no work until I get to the field commander [in Kajo-keji] tomorrow (Monday),” said Maj. Gen Lul. 

However, Sudanspost quoted Kajo Keji County Commissioner Erasto Kenyi saying the officers were arrested. “The killers have been arrested of course with the support of county authorities. The people who were sent to the operation have already been arrested and they are under investigation. They are five soldiers.’’

On Friday, the governor of Central Equatoria, Emmanuel Adil Anthony, issued a statement condemning the incident and ordered immediate investigations. 

“Following yesterday’s barbaric acts in Kajo-keji and Terekeka counties that culminated in the gruesome killing of innocent civilians by some indisciplined armed soldiers and cattle raiders I profoundly denounce these heinous acts in the strongest sense possible and order for immediate investigations that will enable the committee to bring the perpetrators into account and face the law accordingly,” the state Facebook page published on Friday last week.

The incident marked the latest of several similar previous accusations against government forces. In June 2021, four including a priest were allegedly killed by the SSPDF in Lainya County in Central Equatoria State.

Late, Rev. Cosmas Kwaje was arrested while presiding over church service on Sunday, May 30, 2021, alongside four others. The others were church service members identified as Simon Taban, a 10-year-old Sunday schoolboy, Moses Wani, a church elder who also served as sub-chief, Benjamin Laki, a church elder, and Mary Gaba Henry. Their whereabouts remain unknown.