SSPDF accused of homicide in Mangala payam

By Bida Elly David

The leadership of Bari Community has accused SSPDF of committing mass killing of innocent civilians in Mangala Payam.

The community leaders said the allegation by SSPDF Spokesperson that there are NAS rebels in Mangala is a guise for attacking the people of Mangala; rather than the existence NAS rebels in the payam.

“The SSPDF went to the affected villages of Mangala payam and started shelling the civilians with heavy weapons claiming that these were NAS rebels’ bases. The shelling of the Bari people is a tactical strategy laid down by the Jonglei herders to lure the SSPDF to kill our innocent civilians in the Islands between Juba and Mangala,” they said during a press conference with the media yesterday.

Speaking jointly as Bari community, they said that the on-going attacks and invasion of the Bari land by pastoralists from Jonglei has become intolerable since too many people have been killed with large population displaced.

“We urgently urge the President and the Commander -in-Chief of the SSPDF as well as the supreme commander of all the organized forces to direct all the security organs to immediately cease the unwarranted offensive operations against our innocent Bari people,” the elders said.

The two consecutive meetings follow a statement by the Spokesperson of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), Lul Ruai that they have successfully captured National Salvation Front military base that had 1,000 ditches and five soldiers near Mankar islands of Mangala Payam.

The leadership maintained that there are no NAS rebels in Mangala. Adding that the deadly violence in the Payam was waged by the aggressive Jonglei herders against the host community who currently are undergoing untold suffering in the places they have been displaced to.

The charge against the SSPDF came after recommendations from a meeting by the Bari Community in regards to the Saga in Mangala and Bilinyang on Thursday 29th December in Juba.

“Therefore, the Bari community leadership and the entire Bari populace would like to categorically and firmly dismiss and condemn in the strongest terms possible the discriminatory, irresponsible, baseless and unproven statement issued by the SSPDF spokesperson Lul Ruai. The statement was made based on political influence to favor the cattle herders and the invaders,” they said.

Moreover, the leadership urged the national government to immediately withdraw SSPDF soldiers based at the Eastern and the Western part of the Nile to mitigate further insecurity.

The leadership further called on the government to seriously desist from the tendency of labeling accusations and fallacies against the Bari people – saying that the Bari are peaceful people who despise violence.

However, efforts to reach the spokesperson of South Sudan defense forces for confirmation was unsuccessful following several trials.

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