December 27, 2011 (JUBA) – The South Sudan army on Tuesday said it is conducting an investigation into the killing of four civilians and one of its soldiers in Jonglei’s Khorfulus during Christmas Eve celebrations.
Phillip Aguer, spokesman of South Sudan’s army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that the security situation in the wake of the incident is “normal” and suggested that the major insecurity concerns in the country are due to the actions of Khartoum.
Aguer said that during the burial the rebel leader, George Athor, on the 23 December, an SPLA soldier who was on duty, providing protection to those burying the deceased, was severely injured by a landmine.
The SPLA claim Athor was killed by their forces on 20 December. The rebels claim Uganda was responsible – a claim which Uganda denies.
During the evening of 24 Decemeber an SPLA was shot multiple times and was found dead on his way to night prayers at the church in Khorfulus.
Upon discoveing his body, his comrades in arms then began to shoot indiscriminately into the crowd leaving the church, killing four people and wounding 15, explained Aguer.
“Upon receipt of the information, he said, the SPLA general command immediately ordered for the arrest of the SPLA officer who was in charge of the platoon which committed the incident […] Investigation is underway [sic],” said Aguer.
Aguer described the general security situation in the country as “normal” other than tension in the borders of Raja county, Western Bahr el Ghazal state and Unity state, where, he claimed, Khartoum’s army, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) are preparing to annex part South Sudan’s to the north.
Aguer also claimed SAF are resettling Arab nomads in the Abyei area, disregarding the UN resolution to withdraw.
SAF took control of the disputed Abyei in May. It is a border area populated by Ngok Dinka, traditionally aligned with South Sudan, and the semi-nomadic Misseriya who generally look to Khartoum for support.
Despite the deployment of a new UN force in the region, thousands of people remain displacedby th e dispute.