A militia group carries out targeted killings in Upper Nile; rebels accuse government of ‘complicity’

Addis Ababa, August 5, 2014 (SSNA) — Early this week, a militia group calling itself Mabanese Defence Forces started ethnically based killings in the oil-rich Upper Nile State. The carnage left at least six people dead.

All the dead were humanitarian aid workers serving the needy people in and around Maban County, Upper Nile State.

At least six targeted killings were carried out on Monday and Tuesday by the militia faction; some employees were ambushed and at least one person was forced out of a car and shot to death by the group, according to humanitarian sources in Upper Nile.

The South Sudan News Agency has confirmed Gabriel Yien Gach as one of those killed. Gach was taken out of his employer’s car and shot to death by members of the Maban-based militia.

Mr. Gach, a Nuer by tribe, was working for the Norwegian aid agency, the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

Meanwhile, the South Sudanese rebels said they are aware of the existence of the Maban militia group which carried out the killings and that they are not surprised, adding that Juba has been training, financing, and arming the Mabanese Defence Forces for months.

“We are aware of the fact that the genocidal regime of Salva Kiir has been training, financing, and arming this group; only [uninformed] South Sudanese will disagree [with our intelligence finding]”, a senior rebel official who prefers anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media told the South Sudan News Agency.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) condemns the killings and raises concern about the operations of aid agencies in Maban County.

“Elements of this militia have been moving around the town, approaching offices of humanitarian organizations and asking if they have any Nuer employees”, the UN said in a press statement.

“Such crimes put the humanitarian operation in Maban at risk, jeopardizing the lives of tens of thousands of men, women and children who count on aid organizations for their survival”, Toby Lanzer, the UN humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan Warns.

At least one million people have fled their homes and hundreds of thousands more fled to the neighboring countries, according to the United Nations (UN).

Peace negotiations between the warring factions have been ongoing in the Ethiopian capital—the talks lead to little or no success with fighting still raging.

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