Former South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) colonel, William John Endley, could be sentenced to death on Friday when he faces a South Sudan court in Juba, charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government.
In addition to the charges of conspiracy and the supply of weapons the South African national has also been accused of espionage, waging an insurgency, sabotage, terrorism and illegal entry into South Sudan, Reuters reported.
Endley formerly served as an adviser to rebel leader Dr Riek Machar, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) who is in exile in South Africa.
South Sudan, the world’s newest country, has been embroiled since 2013 in a civil war between the SPLA-IO and government forces loyal to incumbent President Salva Kiir.
Endley was arrested in August, 2016 and first appeared in court on February 13.
According to his defence which has argued against the charges, Endley was only performing his duties as a security contractor to help Machar’s forces integrate into the South Sudanese Army prior to being arrested.
His lawyer Gardit Abel Gar said that six witnesses had been served with a notification to testify, including a government minister.
Dramatically none of the witnesses called by the defence appeared culminating in presiding judge Ladu Eriminio Sekwat to state that the defence case was closed.
Endley also worked in Iraq as a private military contractor doing demining following his retirement from SANDF engineers.
James Gatdet Dak, Machar’s former spokesman, has also been sentenced to death for incitement and conspiracy against Kiir’s government.
South Sudan won independence from the north in 2011, however, in the subsequent civil war tens of thousands of people have been killed and a third of the population displaced many of them to refugee camps in neighbouring Uganda – creating Africa’s biggest refugee crisis.
The future is not looking promising either with recent talks on power sharing in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, stalling and ongoing clashes erupting despite a ceasefire signed in December.
The ceasefire agreement was intended to revive a 2015 peace deal, which lasted less than a year before collapsing.
– African News Agency (ANA)