SSPDF, NAS accuse each other of civilian massacre in Central Equatoria

SSPDF Spokesman Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang. Photo: File

Juba, January 3, 2019 (SSNA) — Rival forces of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and National Salvation Front (NAS) have accused each other of carrying civilian killings in a village located between Wundoraba and Gorom, competing statements from the two factions have shown.

Maj. General Lul Ruai Kong of the SSPDF said in a statement extended to the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) that NAS soldiers under the command of John Kenyi Loboron killed the civilians and that the national army (SSPDF) condemns the killings.

“They were killed by NAS fighters under direct command of Kenyi Loboron. SSPDF condemns in the strongest terms possible unjustified killing of innocent of civilians,” Gen. Lul said.

Lul reveals in the text that NAS killed at least 19 civilians and calls on the European Union, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, African Union, and Troika nations to hold NAS leader Thomas Cirilo accountable for the massacre. He added that the dead include children, women, and elderly and that 8 people were also wounded.

However, a statement extended to the South Sudan News Agency on Thursday by the office of NAS commanding officer John Kenyi based in Central Equatoria denied the allegations, saying government forces deliberately killed the civilians because most of the people in the village are supporters of NAS.

“We saw lies of SSPDF in the media today accusing us of killing people in a village between Wundoraba and Gorom. This is a lie. SSPDF is the one killing civilians because it doesn’t appreciate the fact that the people in the area support us. This is deliberate killing,” the statement reads in part.

The National Salvation Front also accused government forces of working against the ongoing peace process by killing people and blame it on NAS or other armed groups.

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