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SOLDIERS ON TRIAL Over Terrain hotel attack, rape and torture

At least 12 soldiers accused of attacking foreign aid workers and killing a local Journalist based on his ethnicity during the July incident went on trial yesterday in a military court in Juba.

The soldiers were accused of rape, torture; Killing and looting of Terrain hotel during the July violence that erupted in Juba last year.

The army acting spokesperson Col. Santo Domic Chuol said the trial of the SPLA soldiers means the “army is committed to protecting human rights and promoting rule of law.”

He said the case had been adjourned to 6th of next month to allow the court to organize and prepare all documents since the list of the charges were not ready.

The attack raised criticism on the United Nations peacekeeping force over their failure to respond to the attack though the victims were said to have phoned the UN several times.

A special UN investigation report reveals that UNMISS peacekeepers stationed about a mile away failed to turn to rescue the aid workers despite a plea for help.

The report further stated that there were several requests made to the peacekeepers from China, India, Ethiopia and Nepal to dispatch the forces “but ach UNMISS contingent turned down the request, indicating their troops were not fully committed,”

It also said that during the attack “civilians were subjected to abuse and witnessed human rights violations including murder, intimidation, and sexual violence and acts amounting to torture perpetuated by armed government soldiers.”

The military leader of the UN peacekeeping mission was later sacked because of the matter and the head of the Mission resigned over the incident.

This is not the first time South Sudan military has tried army officers accused of human right violations. Earlier this year, some soldiers who were accused of raping women in Kubi village were also tried in the military court.

By Morris Dogga

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