South Sudan army [SPLA] has denied allegations labelled against its soldiers by a human rights group, Amnesty International.
On 26th May 2016, in a Press Release, Amnesty International accused SPLA of having dozens of detainees held in dire conditions in poorly ventilated metal shipping containers at Gorom.
Brig Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, SPLA Spokesperson, SPLA GHQs-Bilpam said in response that what the press release by Amnesty International was about was actually a report they have published.
In that report, SPLA is accused of holding prisoners in shipping containers in Gorom and apparently under poor ventilation.
“First and foremost, Gorom is not a detention facility but a refutable Military Training Center,” Lul said, adding that there are no civilian detainees being held at that center but only SPLA soldiers detained in grass thatched houses.
“It’s good to point out that these servicemen are being detained for reasons ranging from administrative to other offenses of military nature.”
Lul said SPLA had 62 SPLA IO prisoners of War detained in a different facility but were all released between July and September 2015.
He said the report was based on faulty information leading to a release of a shallow document that completely lacks substance.
Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Greak Lakes breached Diplomatic channels by directly writing to Maj. Gen. Marial Nour, Director for Military Intelligence when she should have channelled her concerns through the Ministry of Foreigner Affairs and International Cooperation.
She allegedly undermined President Salva Kiir Mayardit in his capacity as Commander In Chief of SPLA by writing to him and his subordinate at the same time and on the same issue hence violating SPLA’s well established and respected Military Chain of Command.
The Regional Director was very impatient despite the fact that she was advised to follow the correct procedures, Lul continued.
“In conclusion SPLA urges the people of South Sudan, the region and the international community to disregard the report and consider it as a piece of paper laden with unsubstantiated stories.”
He said SPLA urges the highest authority/body governing Amnesty International to be more careful, rigorous and thorough in the appointment of regional directors before its well- built image is tarnished and credibility compromised.