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UNITY STATE - 26 Jul 2022

Rebel forces ambush military convoy in Mayom, 22 dead

A group of rebel forces ambushed a military convoy in South Sudan’s Unity State, killing 15 government soldiers, a local official said Tuesday.

Wuor Weah, who is in charge of information in Mayom County, told Radio Tamazuj that the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) convoy came under attack from the rebel group South Sudan People’s Movement/ Army (SSPM/A), led by General Stephen Buay Rolnyang between Thiebder and kotong areas in Mayom County on Tuesday morning.

"We had a military convoy of three 3 vehicles that came from Juba and when these vehicles reached a place called Thiebder, they came under attack by rebel forces loyal to General Stephen Buay. They killed 15 people and wounded two others from the government side,” Keah said.

Keah claimed that the military convoy had both soldiers and civilian passengers.

For his part, Luk Gattiek Gai, Gen. Stephen Buay’s press secretary, said the ambush they laid against the SSPDF convoy in Mayom County "led to the kill of seven soldiers on their side."

 Gatttiek further said their fighters also destroyed military vehicles and seized weapons and ammunition.

"The government forces moved from Juba to Mayom County through Ajakuach area in Warrap State two days ago. The military convoy was carrying weapons and ammunition to launch a military operation against our forces in Mayom," Gattiek said.

“So, we were aware of the force that was coming to attack us… The killing of civilians on the SSPDF convoy is a false allegation because the vehicles were full of soldiers. We did not see any civilians because these were government vehicles that were carrying ammunition for operations,” he added.

The attack was the latest in a conflict between the military and SSPM/A forces in Mayom County.

On 22 July, the same rebel group claimed responsibility for an attack on the headquarters of Mayom County, which resulted in the killing of at least 12 people, including the county commissioner.

The group was formed in May 2021.