BBy Bonifacio Taban Kuich
April 21, 2011 (BENTIU) — The clashes in Unity state between Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the rebel South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) have brought tension to the state, with allegations of defections from the SPLA.
In his Mayoum Declaration, on the 11 April 2011, the SSLA leader Peter Gatdet accused Juba government of corruption and dominated by one tribe, alluding to the Dinka ethnic of South Sudan President salva Kiir Mayardit.
Heavy fighting broke out on Thursday morning in Mankien Mayom county, in Unity state, between Peter Gatdet’s forces and the SPLA at 8.30am on Wednesday. Mayom Commissioner Charles Machieng confirmed to Sudan Tribune on Thursday that Mankien fell under the control of militia.
The rebels claimed capturing two locations.
Philip Aguer, the SPLA’s official spokesperson however denied that the militia had taken over Mankien while speaking with Voice of America on Wednesday. He added that, he was aware that the SPLA had fought with the militia in the area but did not lose the town to them.
The commissioner of Mayom said that fighting between Gadet’s forces and the SPLA in his county had not affected the lives of civilians; the forces forewarned the civilians, who evacuated the area, he added.
Spokesperson of Gadet’s SSLA, Bol Gatkuoth Kol, said their forces reassure the citizens of areas they seize from the regular army, stressing they tell them that their attacks are only directed against the positions of the SPLA and no civilian would be harmed.
Bol added, a huge number of SPLA defected and joined them during the last three days fighting in Unity state.
He said former Speaker of Unity state, Tap Malual Wun, joined the SSLA besides many other officials and soldiers.