The army spokesperson says the ongoing gun search in Juba is part of preparations for the marking of the SPLA Day, which has been postponed to next Thursday.
This morning, some residents of Juba woke up to a house-to-house gun search.
Some of them say they were not aware of the exercise.
However, Major-General Lul Ruai Koang says the search is part of beefing up the security situation in the capital Juba ahead of the big day.
He also stresses that the security officers have been instructed to conduct the gun search professionally.
Speaking to Eye Radio this morning, Major-General Lul urged residents of Juba to report to the nearest police post, national security or the army headquarters any misconduct by the security officers during the gun search.
“A national holiday brings big crowds together, people of all walks of life, and when there are large crowds of people it is always essential for security precautionary measures to be taken, so that some evil minded people do not plan evil things against us. What we have been doing is to ensure maximum security for the, would be celebrants on the 16th or now on the 23rd, the new date for the celebration. So what we have been doing is a normal beefing up of security within Juba, and doing some house to house searches so that in case there are people who are keeping guns illegally, then this guns are removed from those ones who are supposed to handle them. The intention is to ensure the safety of the people of South Sudan from now onward.”
SPLA Day marks the day the Sudan People’s Liberation Army was formed, and it is commemorated every year in remembrance of a group of the then Sudanese soldiers who rebelled against the Khartoum regime in 1983.
Major-general Lul Ruai added that the day which is commemorated annually on May 16, has been pushed to next week – though tomorrow remains a public holiday.
Lul Ruai explained to Eye Radio why the celebration was postponed.
“There are three main reasons, one, and we were expecting high turnout of regional and some international dignitaries to grace the occasion as the 36th anniversary as well as the inauguration of the new building. Most of the dignitaries requested for the postponement because there are a lot of schedules. Secondly, we are doing some minor repairs, here and there, putting some final touches on the building, as well as some construction of road that is connecting Bilpam to the main road. We hope to put the final touches maybe in the next five days. The other ones are the logistical arrangement, of course most of these dignitaries are going to stay in hotel and there was need for our logistics to be right. So, these are the three reasons why the celebrations were postponed.”