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MPs demand resignation of security ministers over rising killings

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Minister of Interior, Michael Chiengjiek, and the IGP Gen. Majak Akec Malok on 13 January , 2020 | Credit | SSPS

Some Members of parliament have called on the Ministers in charge of security to resign if they cannot contain the insecurities in Juba. 

On Tuesday, the parliament summoned the Minister of Defense Kuol Manyang, Minister of Interior Michael Changjiek, and the Minister of National Security Obuto Mamur over rampant killings in the capital, Juba.

This followed the killing of a lecturer of the University of Juba near Gudele 2 police station on Monday, prompting  students to march to the parliament to demand justice for the slain don.

Over the past years, Juba residents have raised concerns about increased armed robberies in their respective suburbs. Resident in areas like Gurei, Khor William, Thongpiny, Nyokuron and Munuki say they witness armed robberies almost every night, in some cases blaming men in uniform for the crimes.

The robbers reportedly demand cash and electronics such as phones and laptop computers; while others take away food items such as flour, oil and beans.

“The killings, the rape and all atrocities that we see sometimes being levied on the motorists is going to continue because in other countries if somebody important is killed a minister has to resign, I want to see the ministers to resign on the innocent killing of citizens,” an angry member of parliament demanded on Tuesday.

“Imagine a person killed near a police centre, it is very unfortunate. Such a person killed near a police center and the police, the security and national security are just moving.”

However, the Minister of National Security, Obuto Mamur deflected any blame on the National Security. He said it is the role of the Minister of Interior to respond to crimes in the town.

“We have a strategy of knowing things before it happen but when it happens, it has become a mission of two institutions in our security organs. If it is internally, it is the minister of Interior,” the national security minister said while responding to the demands of the members of parliament.

“When it is externally, we give strategy to the army. Internally also we give the strategy of barring such things to the interior but when it happens, it is none of our business,” he added.

The Minister of Interior, Michael Chiengjiek insisted that it is the collective role of all the security organs to address matters of insecurity.

“We are working hard to stop and to eliminate something called unknown gunmen but we are not going to eliminate crimes and it is also the responsibility of the ministry of interior and national security and presidential guard to make sure that Juba city is safe,” Chiengjiek said.

For his part, the  Minister of Defense attributed the unnecessary killings of civilians in Juba to the presence of soldiers and arms in the residential areas.

“Our soldiers don’t have barracks and stores for guns, because of insecurity, we started the country straight into war, we never had time to organize ourselves,”Kuol Manyang said.

Chapter Two of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement obligates demilitarization of all civilian centres but until now, the ceasefire monitoring body is reporting that some civilian areas are still being occupied by government and opposition forces.

“A soldier stays with his guns at home because if the gun is put in the store, the store might be broken into. That is why most of our soldiers stay in the residential areas.”

“Those days the police services in Juba had residential areas for their officers, but all these properties have been sold. This has led to officers now finding their own places to live.  These are the challenges that we face in the ministry of defense, and I think this is the same challenges the police services and other organized forces are facing. So we are not in full control of the army because they don’t have a specific area allocated for them as residential,” the defense minister explained.

“That is why you are seeing us always having this combination of forces to make sure that somebody misbehaves from the police, and the police is there. If somebody misbehaves from the national security, the national security is there complementing each other,” he added.

Since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013, members of the organized forces have been accused of looting and disobeying lawful orders.

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