Conversations: How SSPDF Soldiers Burnt a South Sudan Rebel Officer Alive

A horrifying video of South Sudan People’s Defence Forces – SSPDF soldiers burning a rebel officer alive has appeared on the internet sparking conversations and investigations over why the act was committed and who sanctioned it.

The rebel, Brigadier General Gatluak Majiok, who belonged to rebel outfit South Sudan People’s Movement/Army – SSPM/A was burnt alive in a hut in Mayom County, Unity State.

He had been arrested together with three other soldiers Maj. Nyuon Garang Kuol, Maj Gen. Pur Aruop Kuol and another unidentified officer in Sudan on Sunday before being repatriated to South Sudan.

The captives were accused of having orchestrated the attack that killed the Commissioner of Mayom County, Chuol Gatluak Manime along with 12 others last month.

In the video that appeared on the internet on Tuesday, the condemned blindfolded and handcuffed.

A few meters away from them, is a line of well-armed officers dressed in SSPDF uniforms.

At another distance, a group of senior military and government officials, including the Governor of Unity State are seen watching the execution.

Three men were executed by firing squad but Brig. Gen. Gatluak Majiok was spared from the firing squad, only to die in an exceptionally painful way.

Translated conversations before Gatluak was burnt alive

Before he was burnt alive, Gatluak is heard conversing with his captors in Nuer language, in what appeared to be his last words.

“My friend, there is no problem, you remain in peace…and take care of our country, although you… people…” Gatluak said and added, “Duoth! The money you have now, even if you deny it, your money will finish.”

Then another voice commanded the soldier chaining him, “Remove the chain and tie one of his hands together with his leg.”

“Do we have to tie him with the chain?” said another voice from the soldier tying him.

“Yes, let it burn with him,” said his superior, before adding; “tie two of his legs.”

The condemned said in resignation; “even if you don’t tie me, I will never run out of this hut.” He was then ordered to “shut up!”

“Let him talk…” said another soldier, and Gatluak said “whatever you are doing, is this the government?”

Gatluak having final words with his captors

SSPDF Speaks Out

SSPDF Spokesperson Gen Lul Ruai Koang said on Tuesday morning that the Chief of Defense Forces directed an investigation into the incident to ensure the perpetrators are held accountable, saying the incident is unacceptable.

“The SSPDF general Headquarters saw the same pictures, we just had the consultations. I was directed by the chief of the defense forces that a thorough investigation is going to be carried out so that we know exactly who gave the order of the killing to be carried out,” he said.

“It had not been part of our legacy, we during the SPLA, were known for capturing prisoners of war, taking care of them, treating them humanly, and in most cases, they were treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention,

“What we have witnessed in Mayom County of Unity State is unacceptable, the chief of defense forces has promised that a thorough investigation is going to be carried out and those who are behind the killing are going to be held accountable,” Gen Lul said.

Additional reporting by: Eye Radio

Chol Mawel