South Sudanese condemn highway killings, demand for justice

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] South Sudanese from all walks of life have condemned the weekend killing of 21 civilians on the Juba-Yei road and have demanded for the killers to be brought to book. At the same time, the SPLA-IO has condemned the act, denying that it was responsible for the cowardly act. UNMISS, the peacekeeping mission in the country said it was extremely concerned by the continuing deterioration of security situation in Yei, Central Equatoria.

“The Mission has received deeply disturbing reports of horrific violence perpetrated against innocent and vulnerable civilians, including women and infants,” said a statement from the mission.

UNMISS called on all parties to the South Sudan conflict to refrain from further violence, and to ensure that commanders control their forces and protect civilians and their property and to cease all hostilities.

“We further reiterate that there can be no military solution to the situation in South Sudan,” UNMISS said.

SPLA-IO spokesman Mabior Garang, said in a statement that the SPLM-IO condemned in the strongest terms the killing of innocent civilians and added that the SPLM (IO) has no policy of killing civilians. He said the crime should be investigated and those responsible brought to book.

On social media, John Garang, while condoling with the families of the dead, asked President Salva Kiir to declare a state of emergency in the country. He asked relatives of the victims not to take revenge but to leave everything in the hands of God.

“Beware of politicians inciting social divide for their own gains. This is an act of terrorists. Let us unite against such inhuman acts!” he said.

A youth activist Kuach Tutkuay consoled the bereaved families and reminded South Sudanese to stop looking at each other as coming from different tribes because they all need each other.

“Killing a civilian Dinka just because the current leader is a Dinka won't help South Sudan, likewise, killing a Nuer just because the current rebel leader is a Nuer won't help South Sudan. We must differentiate politics and tribe.Let's all learn to forgive. Forgiveness is the most expensive act but for South Sudan to exist we must purchase forgiveness at all costs. We can never build a nation on the foundation of revenge and retaliation,” he said.

“We shall obligate ourselves to purchase forgiveness and principles of equity where all of us are equal. South Sudan belongs to all of us regardless of our various tribes and communities we came from. My condolences to the families who lost their beloved ones,” said Nyuon Maluit, a concern citizen.

These recent killings have only helped to worsen the already frail relations between people from different ethnicities in the country, with some calling for revenge killings. Tension is reported to be rife in the affected area.

Meanwhile, Radio Tamazuj reported that the death toll in recent ambush along the Yei-Juba road has reached 30. This is according to spokesperson for the SPLA army Brig. Lul Ruai Koang.


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