Rival forces trade accusation over ceasefire violations in Imatong
Key players in the South Sudanese war traded accusations over violations of the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Kiir in May.
This comes after clashes erupted between government troops and opposition fighters allied to former First Vice President Riek Machar south of Torit in Imatong state yesterday morning.
The deputy spokesperson of the SPLA-IO forces, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, issued a statement on Wednesday, accusing the government forces of carrying out attacks in Imatong state on Wednesday morning.
Lam pointed out that the attacks came from directions of Torit, Palotaka, Magwi to attack Moti, Ayiri and Iholong areas, but they were repulsed.
“The objective of the attack by the government forces is to punish the civil population in the area gain and claim space and territory in Imatong state,” he said.
The rebel spokesman claimed that they inflicted heavy losses on the government forces and killed 16 soldiers and wounded 17 others. He added that they also seized some military equipment during the clashes.
Col. Pio Ohisa, a senior rebel official, said the clashes started around 6:00 am and continued until afternoon in Moti and Ayiri areas.
The rebel official claimed that the clashes erupted after the government troops attacked their positions, forcing them to respond in self-defense in which they seized military equipment from the government forces.
For his part, Col. Santo Domic, the military spokesman of the SPLA army, denied knowledge of any clashes with rebels south of Torit, while accusing the SPLA-IO forces of violating the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Kiir recently.
He revealed that a military patrol was ambushed by the opposition south of Torit town yesterday. Domic reiterated their commitment to respect President Kiir’s unilateral ceasefire.