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South Sudan Opposition Says SPLA Harassing, Killing Civilians

SPLA soldiers on guard in Bentiu, Unity state in January 2014.

A spokesman for the South Sudan opposition on Monday accused government forces of harassing and sometimes killing civilians in Unity and Jonglei states.

"The government troops go out in Unity state... They hunt the ordinary people who are living in villages, people who are suffering because there are no services. They go out and hunt them, they go and kill people. The same thing in Jonglei state," the opposition's head of humanitarian affairs, Hussein Mar Nyuot, said.

Army spokesman Philip Aguer said the government has not had any complaints from civilians of harassment by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

Mar Nyuot's accusations came days after a rebel militia leader and a commander of the SPLA were sanctioned by the European Union for blocking the peace process and breaching the January ceasefire deal.

Mar Nyuot insisted that the opposition is committed to ending the seven-month conflict in South Sudan, and that its forces have not violated the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in January.

But, he said, "We will defend areas where we are because there are local people who live in the areas we control," who are being attacked by government forces.

Lucy Poni contributed to this report.

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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the  South Sudan In Focus radio program.
    Before joining VOA, John worked in Nairobi, Kenya where he established the first independent radio station (Sudan Radio Service) for the people of Sudan. He has covered several civil wars both in Sudan and South Sudan and has been engaged in the production of civic education materials for creating awareness about post conflict issues facing Sudanese and South Sudanese. John has interviewed South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga, leader of Sudan’s Umma Party Sadiq Al Mahdi in addition to other senior United Nations and U.S government officials in South Sudan and Washington. His travels have taken him across to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, DRC Congo and parts East Africa where he reported on the South Sudanese diaspora and the challenges facing them.
    A South Sudanese national, John enjoys listening to music from all over the world, reads academic books, watches documentaries and listens to various radio stations on the internet.  You can follow John on Twitter at @Abusukon

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