S. Sudan president threatens personal military operation in Equatoria

October 20, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan president, Salva Kiir has threatened to personally lead and direct military operations in Equatoria region, particularly in Yei county, vowing to relocate to the area if armed groups continue causing insecurity.

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (AFP)

“We will not just sit in Juba. We will go out. I will relocate to go and stay in Yei and all the operations that will go out will go out under my directives and my supervision”, an emotionally Kiir said Tuesday during an occasion marking official reception of the registration of one the factions of the divided Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) under his leadership in government controlled areas.

He said those who have taken up arms in the region to cause havoc were sons of the area; hence the leaders from the region ought to them so that they stop carrying out hostile activities. This message, he said, was delivered by two of his advisors whom had recently dispatched to the area to calm down the situation after reports shows that insecurity has been deteriorating in Central, Western Equatoria state.

“And I said the other time when I sent my advisors to Yei, I told them you go to Yei and tell the people that those who are now disturbing them are their own sons. If they don’t call them back, I will go to Yei myself,” he said.

Kiir warned of more violence in the region if targeted killings do not stop.

“These targeted killings, if they are not stopped by the people who are actually engineering them, how long do you think people will remain patient?” stressed Kiir.

He added, “There is a need to urgently return peace to the country”.

Observers have expressed concern that such remarks may be interpreted by members of the victims in the army predominantly his ethnic Dinka to mean a directive to carry out military operations in the Equatoria, which if not properly commanded and guided, may affect innocent civilians as a punishment for not cooperating with the army in identifying and exposing armed dissident youth in the region.