South Sudan's army denies losing control of troops

Comments follow monitoring group's claims that armed groups increasingly acting independently

South Sudan's army denies losing control of troops

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Sudan’s military on Thursday insisted that it retained control of its forces following a claim that discipline had broken down.

Festus Mogae, chairman of the commission monitoring the August 2015 peace deal, had claimed Wednesday that the command structures of all armed groups “appear to have broken down”.

However, deputy military spokesman Col. Domino Santos said: “I don’t think that the statement by the Joint Monitoring Evaluation Commission is correct.

“I think that the army’s general command is still holding, is still in intact and in place. Why? Almost all the towns controlled by the government forces are peaceful.”

The monitoring commission warned that a command breakdown would lead to further bloodshed.

Mogae, the former president of Botswana, urged an immediate end to hostilities and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to communities facing starvation.

He said violence around the country was increasingly based on local decisions, with armed groups declaring allegiance to a national leader but rarely taking direct orders.

Fighting was renewed in March last year and has been marked by widespread atrocities against civilians, including rape, torture and murder, by all warring parties.

Col. Santos described such incidents as isolated cases.

“If there are violations and then they are isolated cases of indiscipline,” he said. “We don’t call it the whole army or a breakdown in the chain of command because the army always acts in that regard and punishes [the perpetrators].”

The conflict, which began in December 2013, has led to a humanitarian crisis. Around 7.5 million people, or two-thirds of the population, require humanitarian assistance while more than 2.5 million have been displaced.

In March, the UN declared a “man-made” famine in South Sudan.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Nisan 2017, 16:11