JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudanese soldiers killed at least 10 troops when they shot and sank one of their own military riverboats in a remote region after mistaking it for an enemy craft, the army said.
The troops opened fire on the boat after ordering it to stop as it passed their position by a river in Upper Nile state midweek, South Sudan’s army spokesman (SPLA) Philip Aguer said.
About 50 soldiers are still missing in addition to the 10 killed.
“It was an accident by SPLA soldiers,” Aguer said. “They mistook their own boat that was carrying soldiers from Renk to Malakal. It was traveling at night.”
The boat sank near the Lul settlement in the west of Upper Nile state, he said.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan over a year ago under a 2005 accord that ended decades of civil war. The new national army - the Sudan People’s Liberation Army - is composed largely of former guerilla fighters and militias integrated after the peace deal.
Aguer said the SPLA would investigate the incident to determine why the soldiers mistook their own boat for an “enemy” craft deep in South Sudanese territory.