SSPDF Soldier Arrested Hunting Near SPLA-IO cantonment Site in Aswa

Aswa, 16 March 2019: Rapid reaction force a special task force unit of SPLA-IO at Aswa SPLA-IO cantonment site early on Saturday disarmed and arrested South Sudan People's Defense force soldier near SPLA-IO cantonment site at Aswa, Loa, Payam Pageri County. 

The incident happened at the early hour of Saturday morning, at around 9:00 am local, as the SPLA-IO representatives were preparing to go to the second round of high confidence and trust building exercise in Nimule border town. 

An unidentified officer of SPLA-IO told South Sudan Liberty news on phone, that their cantonment site was surprised by sounds of gunshot. He said immediately the unit commander of SPLA-IO dispatched Rapid reaction force to the place where the sound came from. Within a few minutes, the force came to back to the cantonment center with one man, who was disarmed and carrying a corpse of a freshly killed gazelle. 

According to the officer who spoke to SSLN in the condition of anonymity because he is unauthorized to talk to the media, said the hunter was quickly interviewed by SPLA-IO security personnel. During the interview, the soldier who identified himself as a sergeant major. Joseph Abola,  a non-commission officer from   SSPDF engineering unit stationed near Aswa bridge. He said he is 40 years old. Segt Joseph Abola has 17 rounds of bullets in his gun, AK-47, with registration number 11001. 

Asked whether he didn't know it is illegal and provocation to hunt near SPLA-IO cantonment site,  Segt Abola said he was driven by poverty. He said he has not been paid salary for several months, and he had to feed his family. Segt Abola later apologizes for what he has done. 

After the investigation, as a gesture of goodwill, SPLA-IO decided to take Abola and hand him over to his unit Commander. The commander was then seriously warned to prevent his people sneaking near SPLA-IO cantonment area, as such provocative to trigger some serious incident. This is the first incident since the SPLA-IO forces moved to their cantonment site. 

Andrew Olweny 

SSLN

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