SSPDF refutes allegations of involvement in Abyei fighting
The spokesperson of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) on Tuesday vehemently denied claims that some of its units and the commander of the Third Infantry Division were actively involved in the attacks on villages in Abyei on Sunday.
Abyei Information Minister Bulis Koch on Monday accused elements of the SSPDF and armed youths from Warrap State’s Twic County of carrying out the attacks in Malual Aleu, Alal County, and Rumamer County on Sunday.
However, in a rejoinder, SSPDF Spokesperson Gen. Lul Ruai Koang repudiated the statement released by the minister of information in the Abyei Special Administrative Area accusing the commander of SSPDF Third Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Akuei Ajou, and other elements within the SSPDF of being involved in the deadly clashes.
“I would like to take this opportunity to announce to all the listeners of various radio stations and media outlets that SSPDF forces were not involved in the recurrent clashes between the two rival communities. We would like to make it very clear that we are not involved in the recurrent clashes,” he said. “To the contrary, we are victims as SSPDF. Four of our many bases got attacked by armed men and we have not been issuing any statements accusing any of the rival factions, not because we do not know the prime suspects but it is because we do not want to muddy the dirty waters.”
“Even on the 13 November, Ayuok military base was attacked and we lost dozens of security personnel, weapons were seized and part of the barracks was overrun,” Gen. Ruai added.
He said some of the soldiers’ houses were torched during the Ayuok attack but the army desisted from issuing a statement accusing anybody because they did not know the assailants.
“I have just come to clear our (SSPDF) name again and say that we are not involved in the ongoing clashes at all because the accusations leveled against us as SSPDF in general and the commander of the Third Division are not substantiated and therefore we dismiss it,” he asserted.
On 13 November, the SSPDF’s Ayok military base which hosts the Abyei Independent Brigade was attacked by armed Ngok Dinka youth from Abyei leaving several soldiers and an officer dead and others injured.
The conflict between the Ngok Dinka of Abyei and Twic County of Warrap State has now been running for close to two years.
Last year, President Salva Kiir formed a committee headed by Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi Akol to investigate and resolve the conflict to no avail.