Sol­dier who es­caped death penalty re­turns home

Daily News - - NATION - MEL FRYKBERG mel.frykberg@african­

WIL­LIAM End­ley, the for­mer South African de­fence force colonel, is back home from South Su­dan af­ter be­ing par­doned by Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir last week.

End­ley was sen­tenced to death by hang­ing by a court in the cap­i­tal Juba in Fe­bru­ary, fol­low­ing his con­vic­tion on charges of es­pi­onage and con­spir­ing to over­throw the gov­ern­ment.

Speak­ing to the me­dia on Thurs­day, End­ley said he was en­joy­ing drink­ing a cold beer and the free­dom of be­ing able to move around af­ter be­ing held in soli­tary con­fine­ment for long pe­ri­ods of time.

And de­spite his trau­matic im­pris­on­ment, in what his fam­ily told the African News Agency (ANA) were army – the rea­son he said he went to the coun­try in the first place.

He was ar­rested in Au­gust 2016 when re­newed fight­ing be­tween gov­ern­ment troops and the SPLM-IO broke out af­ter Machar had first re­turned from ex­ile to take part in a tran­si­tional unity gov­ern­ment.

His de­fence ar­gued against the charges, stat­ing that End­ley was only per­form­ing his du­ties as a se­cu­rity con­trac­tor to help Machar’s forces in­te­grate into the South Su­danese Army.

South Su­dan won in­de­pen­dence from Su­dan in 2011, but plunged into a civil war in 2013 af­ter Kiir ac­cused Machar – then vice-pres­i­dent – of plot­ting a coup against him.

An es­ti­mated 380 000 peo­ple were killed and nearly two-and-a-half-mil­lion oth­ers dis­placed in the five-year civil war. | African News Agency (ANA)

Wil­liam End­leyap­palling con­di­tions, End­ley said yes­ter­day he would have no prob­lem re­turn­ing to South Su­dan if asked, adding that Riek Machar, the leader of the Su­dan Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment-In Op­po­si­tion (SPLM-IO) had al­ready re­quested him to re­turn to help in­te­grate rebels with the na­tional

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