Security has been heightened in the South Sudan capital following targeted shootings of security personnel and their bodyguards.
Gunmen allegedly from the Military Intelligence (MI) killed an officer and a guard of top military commander of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) over the weekend.
Lt. Colonel George Gismala was shot while seated and smoking shisha at a tea place in Kator residential area, according to Radio Tamazuj.
Opposition accused government of the targeted killing although the SPLA and SPLA-IO military spokespersons have not yet commented on the matter.
Sudan Tribune now reports that the late George, a relative to General Martin Kenyi who is a senior military commander of the SPLA-IO, defected from President Salva Kiir’s government two years ago had been promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel by the armed opposition faction.
He previously served as Military Intelligence (MI) officer in the government at the rank of Captain before his defection to the SPLA-IO.
He was reportedly gunned down after engaging in a discussion with members of national security at a tea place over the issue of the delay of the establishment of cantonment sites as well as the continued presence of additional government soldiers and security personnel inside Juba, despite transitional security arrangements recommending a limited number of joint force to be in the town.
Bodyguards of General Martin Kenyi, another high-ranking armed opposition figure, were also shot at, resulting in injury, one of whom remains in critical condition.
In an attempt to control the situation, government soldiers and plain cloth security personnel were seen patrolling key streets in the town in what residents described as efforts to impose security measures to avoid another flare up.
Police spokesperson, Brigadier General Daniel Justin Boulo, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that a tighter partnership between police, defence and security forces and the population would ensure “the best possible intelligence can be put to use.”
Last month, members of national security opened fire at the bodyguards of the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar, in Juba.
Also unknown gunmen fired guns near the resident of Machar at Jebel Kujur on Saturday night.