South Sudan rebels rubbish claims of recruiting Ethiopian citizens
As the civil war in South Sudan continues, there were claims that the rebels’ group, loyal to Riek Machar has been recruiting Ethiopian citizens and hence having enough man power to keep the battle going.
Claims elaborated that the rebels recruited the Ethiopian citizens from Gambella region, which the South Sudanese armed opposition official came up to dismiss.
“We would like to emphasize that we do not, under any possible circumstances, recruit anyone, not even South Sudanese citizens to participate in the ongoing armed conflicts in South Sudan,” said Puok Buluang, the armed opposition’s director for information and public relations, in a statement.
“However, if need arises, we can recruit. Though everyone that comes to join us, comes willingly and voluntarily without any force put on them,” he added.
The now denied claims were insinuated by Thowath Pal Chay, an Ethiopian opposition leader and chairman of the Ethiopian Unity-Patriotic Front (EUPF)
“Apparently, how can we sign in foreigners to join our group, like Thowath said, yet we don’t even enlist our own countrymen and women,” Buluang explained.
South Sudan has been under civil war since December 2013. The conflict has up until now been between South Sudan’s former Vice President, Riek Machar (the now rebels’ leader) and the incumbent President Salva Kiir
The war started after Salva Kiir fired his then Vice President Riek Machar from government, with accusations that he was planning a coup, in a bid to snatch power from the President.
The war has since then displaced thousands of people from the country, forcing them to seek asylum from the neighboring countries, and so become refugees. The survivors of the war seek shelter from Uganda, Kenya, DR Congo, Rwanda among others.
However, those that don’t get a chance to escape, they are killed in the most painful ways.
Families are locked inside the houses and then set on fire, women and girls are raped and then killed, men are killed before their families and young boys are taken in their camps, and later trained as rebels – sources including the UN, highlighted all the issues.
Reporter: Shamilah Namuddu