A South Sudan court on Friday sentenced a South African ex-SA Defence Force colonel to be executed by hanging, a witness told Reuters, after he was convicted of conspiracy and attempting to overthrow the government.
Retired colonel William Endley, 55, had been providing advice to former-vice-president-turned-rebel-leader Riek Machar, whose forces have been fighting a civil war since 2013.
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.
Endley’s lawyer Gardit Abel Gar said 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)