Renewed fighting between rival SPLA-IO forces reported in Magenis, Upper Nile State
SPLA-IO forces loyal to the breakaway faction led by General Simon Gatwich Dual have said that they came under a fresh attack on Tuesday morning by forces allied to Dr. Riek Macher in the Kitgwang area of Magenis in Upper Nile State.
Maurice Samuel, the spokesperson for General. Johnson Olony’s Agwelek Division, which is part of the breakaway SPLA-IO led by Gen. Gatwich, told Radio Tamazuj yesterday that forces loyal to Dr. Machar launched a multi-pronged attack on several of their positions.
“There was an incident today (Tuesday) near the Kit Gwang area. Forces loyal to Dr. Machar launched an attack on our position at Gaisan,” Samuel said. “Our forces under the leadership of Gen. Simon Gatwich, Johnson Olony, and Thomas Mabor were on high alert and our forces were able to repulse the enemies and they were pushed up to Dalamut. This time around, they were unable to enter our area as it happened on 7 August during their first attack on our position.”
He added: “They also launched an attack on Tebeldia which is located around 25 km from the Kit Gwang area. The incident took place at 5 am. Our forces were able to repulse them back to their base. This is the second attack by forces of Machar within the past two days.”
Samuel said they condemned the attacks on their positions and urged the ceasefire monitoring body of IGAD to restrain Machar’s forces.
“This is a clear violation of the ceasefire which will cause insecurity in South Sudan and our citizens will be affected,” Samuel said. “Our leader, Simon Gatwich Dual, is doing all that he can to fully implement the revitalized peace agreement so that our country can be stable, but Machar’s forces are creating insecurity in the country by launching attacks on our positions.”
Pressed that Machar’s faction denied that they launched fresh attacks against the breakaway faction, Samuel said, “This is not true and it is false information. They launched a series of attacks on Gaisan, Kuek, and Abut. How can our forces be attacked from different directions in one day if the attackers are not from Machar’s forces?”
He said Dr. Machar was not in control of his forces and that they were pillaging villages and appealed to the Joint Defense Board (JDB) to assemble Machar’s troops in one location.
“They are spread all over and are causing insecurity to local civilians in the area,” Samuel said.
Asked about casualties on their side, Samuel said, “There are few injuries among our forces and up to now we are still waiting for the exact figure, but during this attack, our forces were able to capture four LandCruiser pickups. That is separate from the other four which we captured during the incident of August 7th.”
Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, Dr. Machar’s SPLA-IO spokesman, could not be reached for comment.
On 3 August General Simon Gatwich Dual, the former Chief of General Staff of the SPLA-IO ousted his erstwhile boss, Dr. Riek Machar, and said he had assumed leadership of the SPLM/A-IO.