August 27,2012 (BOR) - South Sudan authorities have confirmed new clashes between SPLA forces and a rebel group led by David Yauyau in Thodo about 60 kilometres from Lekuangole payam [district] of Pibor county.
- SPLA) soldier stands in a parade during their 29th anniversary celebrations in South Sudan’s capital Juba (Reuters)
Jonglei State Governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, has left this morning for Lekuangole Payam in Pibor where the attack took place.
Speaking to Sudan Tribune from Pibor, the commissioner of Pibor County Joshua Konyi Irer said the SPLA soldiers clashed with the rebel militia on 22 August and the number of "casualties is not yet confirmed up to now".
The SPLA spokesman, who has just returned from Pibor County also confirmed the attack on Monday. He said that the clashed had taken place in the area but declined to elaborate on the details of the fight saying he was out of the office.
Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that rebels have killed at least 24 soldiers, with several others missing or wounded, in the latest outbreak of violence in the troubled region.
"There were 24 reported killed from the SPLA and 12 wounded, and there are about 17 missing," Jonglei governor Kuol Manyang Juuk told AFP, adding that it had taken time for the survivors to trek out from the remote area to report the attack.
"It was a small force that was sent to confirm that David Yauyau was in the area... and then they were attacked by men in uniform joined by some armed civilians," Manyang said.
The governor further suspected Murle youth of being involved in the attack on the SPLA soldiers. Yauyau was recently suspected of recruiting young people from the Pibor area.
The governor, however, refused to link between the attack and the recent abuses committed against Murle people during the disarmament process in Pibor.
"It is not revenge, it is a rebellion," he said.
The governor also said the reports about human rights violations were overblown.
"That is not confirmed. It hasn’t been investigated. It could be the actions of individuals while there are 8,000 soldiers there," he pointed out.
UN Mission in South Sudan and Human Rights Watch accused uncontrolled SPLA elements of killing and torture against civilians there. UNMISS however hailed the efforts Juba taken to establish security and to curb violence there.