News / Africa

South Sudan Army Denies Accusations of Abuse, Torture

A Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldier watches on during a parade celebrating their 29th anniversary in South Sudan's capital Juba, May 16, 2012.
A Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldier watches on during a parade celebrating their 29th anniversary in South Sudan's capital Juba, May 16, 2012.
Alex Pena
NAIROBI - The Sudan People's Liberation Army is denying accusations it has used violence, torture and rape during a disarmament program designed to reduce tribal violence in Jonglei state. 

Organizations operating in the region say the SPLA committed the abuses last week while disarming members of the Murle community.

This week, SPLA spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer said cases of abuse were minimal. “In the whole process, we have reported about 25 cases, only five have been civilians.  The rest were soldiers amongst themselves,” he said.

Aguer says while they are investigating the accusations, the disarmament program in Jonglei will continue as planned.  He says since March, when the program began, the army has collected more than 10,000 weapons.  He considers the program a success.

“It is only when the government monopolize(s) the carrying of guns and use of force, when you can create a sense of security in individuals and groups under the umbrella of government post,” noted Aguer.

The SPLA began the disarmament program after a series of deadly cattle raids and clashes between the rival Murle and Lou Nuer communities.  Fighting during the past few years has killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands more.

But the organizations protesting the disarmament, local and international, say the SPLA is using violence to stop violence.

The allegations against the SPLA include beatings, intimidation, killing, torture and rape.  The groups have called for the government of South Sudan to halt the disarmament program until violence is reduced and a credible peace process in underway.  

Despite the accusations, the spokesperson for the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, Koudier Zerrouk, says the mission will continue to support the disarmament program. “We have reported a certain number of violations, but these are alleged violations for instance, and this was conveyed to the government here in Juba," he stated. "They are aware, and they acted on it by the way.  The SPLA in few cases, for instance, have arrested soldiers who were involved in abuses cases, harassment, or rape, and they have arrested soldiers and they are being investigated.”

Disarmament in Jonglei state is nothing new.  According to the organizations, this style of voluntary and forced disarmament has been tried five times in the past six years - unsuccessfully.

Last month, leaders from the rival communities met with the goal of ensuring the process continues with as little violence as possible.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid