S.Sudan sentences 77 soldiers on murder, rape and looting charges

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/9/23 23:19:10

South Sudan Army (SPLA) on Friday convicted and sentenced 77 of its soldiers on charges of murder, rape and looting to imprisonment and death, its spokesman said.

Spokesman Lul Ruai Koang told journalists in Juba that majority of the soldiers sentenced committed these crimes during the eruption of intense fighting on July 8 in the capital between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and sacked former First Vice President Riek Machar.

"A total of 77 SPLA soldiers have been sentenced, some to death, some to so many years in prison. Two have been sentenced to 14 years in prison including a captain who was accused of rape. Another soldier accused of murder has been sentenced to death by firing squad," Koang explained.

The soldiers were read to their charges ranging from theft, looting, loitering and embezzlement at a parade amid tight security.

"This was a culmination of a legal process that took three months. After the July clashes the military leadership formed the General Court Martial (GCM) to try SPLA soldiers accused of different crimes," said Koang.

He said the GCM cited the SPLA Act 2009 to punish those who committed crimes.

"We are serious about those who have been tarnishing the name of SPLA. The message will be a deterrent to those who are still serving the SPLA that days of impunity are long gone," Koang said.

He added that 31 of the sentenced soldiers were dismissed from the military and will serve their prison sentences in civil prisons.

The intense fighting that forced the rebel leader Machar to flee the capital with his troops left about 300 people killed and thousands displaced. Massive looting of shops, rape, and vandalizing of properties were also reported.

The renewed clash left the fragile peace agreement signed in August 2015 in tatters after Machar was replaced with Taban Deng Gai as First Vice President.

Posted in: Africa

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