FBI helping South Sudanese government in killing trial of US citizens

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Juba, June 6, 2017 — An official with the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is currently assisting South Sudanese government to prosecute soldiers who were accused of killing, raping, and torturing humanitarian aid workers in July 2016, The Reuters News Agency has reported.

The attack, which occurred on July 11 at the Juba-based Terrain Hotel, resulted in the killing of John Gatluak and raping of at least five women.

The United Nations and nearly all humanitarian organizations operating in South Sudan accused Juba of killing Mr. Gatluak simply because he was a Nuer. The attack also resulted in a removal of a Kenyan military General who was the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan.

Some survivors of the attack described the scene as “chaotic,” with another personal labeling the ordeal as “an inhumane.”

In the report, Reuters said an FBI assistant legal attaché attended the court proceeding Tuesday. The trial is being conducted by a military court.

US-based Amnesty International questions the impartiality of South Sudanese courts, saying, “The courts are staffed by military personnel who are within the hierarchy of the military and therefore the independence of this military courts is questionable.”

One South Sudanese legal analyst told the South Sudan News Agency that the trial is “a bogus court proceeding pre-arranged by the government to confuse the United States,” adding, “only a person with a serious mental disability would believe in such a trial.”

“Following the attack by SPLA forces on the Terrain Hotel Compound … which included an assault on U.S. citizens, the U.S. government asked the government of … South Sudan to permit the FBI to assist in the investigation and the prosecution,” a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Juba said.

A heavy fighting erupted in Juba in July 2016 after soldiers loyal to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir try to kill rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar. The fighting lasted for at least three days.


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