Home | News    Sunday 5 January 2014

S. Sudan army to contain rebellions in key strategic towns

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January 4, 2014 (JUBA) - The South Sudanese army (SPLA) said Thursday that it had the strength, ability and determination to contain the spiraling rebellions in the country’s key and strategic areas, despite ongoing ceasefire talks.

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Chief of Staff of South Sudan’s army, General James Hoth Mai speaks during a media update with regards to the current fighting with rebels in north of the country, in Juba January 2, 2014 (REUTERS/James Akena)

“We will confidently, fiercely and consistently continue to defend this country against anybody trying to undermine peace and stability. The vileness of the crimes that have been committed should not be ignored. No matter what motivated these acts, there can be no justification for crimes against civilians, particularly against innocent women and children", said army chief of staff, James Hoth Mai.

"We did not fight to liberate this country so that it could be returned to square one again. We have had enough and we do not need to go for another war," he added during an interview with Sudan Tribune on the country’s security situation.

The army, according to Mai, remains fully independent and committed to defend the constitution as part of its mandate.

"This is our first assurance which you in the media need to convey in a professional manner. Don’t add, don’t subtract and don’t distort. This is an answer to questions about the duty and mandate of the SPLA”, he stressed.

The senior army official was reacting to questions regarding the circumstances under which the SPLA prevented rebels from taking control of Bor, the capital of the country’s largest state last week.

"[Bor] It will be recaptured from the rebel forces within 24 hours", he assured, adding that government forces were ready to take the town from “anytime soon”.

“We ask our people to just wait and be patience. It is just a matter of time".

The army chief also warned civilians to stay away from the conflict after it emerged that some people had also become part of the fighting either forcefully or without knowing its causes.

“There are still some civilians around Bor. Some of these civilians are young people who do not know what they are fighting for. If you ask any of them now they will not tell you. They just joined when they saw people moving with guns. They think that carrying a gun is a prestige", Mai said,

"They are young people whose future should not be destroyed. The rebel uses them but as the national army, we recognise that they are children", he added.

The army on Friday dismissed reports that rebels, led by former vice-president Riek Machar, were moving towards the capital, Juba, saying they were instead retreating.

Philip Aguer, the SPLA spokespersontold Sudan Tribune that the rebels "will be running [but] not advancing" adding that "There is no threat to Juba".

South Sudan has been in state of crisis since President Salva Kiir accused Machar and other senior members of his ruling Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) of attempting to oust his government in mid-December last year.

Infighting within the army on 15 December spread to other parts of the capital, while reports that civilians were targetted on the basis of their ethnicity led to parts of the army rebelling in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.

(ST)

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  • 5 January 07:15, by Mapuor

    SPLA is invincible as it has ever been.Bor and Bentiu will be liberated from Nygaats any time from now.The war is indeed not tribal,however,Mr Nyagaat Riek always resort to tribal instigation when defeated political,his dream to lead the South is just a mirage.Hahaahh the guy is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.The poor will always pray for his demise.SPLA OYEEEEEEE

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  • 5 January 07:15, by Naath

    It’s matter of time for you Hoth Mai to be capture alive or dead,jameza,Gumba,North and southside are alraedy postioning wher are you going next.I’m now ready to storm presidential palace where criminal kiir is.good luck

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    • 5 January 10:19, by Deng Tut

      Dear all, you have heard what happened to Major General Simon Gatwech Duol, he was attacked yesterday by gogerial chicken and food lover, all general who still with Dinka are cheating themselves, Dinka have decided to massacre innocent Nuer civilians in Juba, they may attack some of you today, pls join your brothers and fight with Dinka, let Salva Kiir leave this land with his gogerialism,

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    • 5 January 12:02, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      I guess you fight your wars in Bentiu bars.

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    • 5 January 12:11, by Konkooc

      riek massacre will be cursed forever for innocent life he took because of his personal interest not even nuer interest, Hope he will test the death this new year! Amen

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  • 5 January 07:16, by dinkdong

    You (SPLA) have been saying, "ready to contain rebellion" for a while now. You are suck!

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  • 5 January 07:27, by Majongdit

    Well said cde Hoth Mai! In you I see a true leader. One time one day you can be Big Leader in this country. If Presidency goes round regions in turns, then from Upper Nile there is already a strong contender. I like Wani Igga, Hoth Mai, Dr Marial, Simon Kun

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  • 5 January 07:28, by Mapuor

    Mr president should now stop handling Nyagaats with kids glove,he should go for tit for tat.Its too much.What else can be given to those thugs who fought against the SPLA from 1983 to 2005.Rewarding Nyagaats must stop.SPLA is ready to defeat them,never again will illiterates be allowed to be army generals.They must be demobilized during this war and after it,for they don’t know the rules of

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    • 5 January 07:33, by Mapuor

      engagement.The international community may hold responsible those who allow illiterates to possess high ranks and command huge forces.Illiterates are naturally prone to tribalizing political conflicts.International community should interfere this time in organization of armed forces to stop future massacres.Riek Macar will never escape this war again.

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  • 5 January 08:23, by Knight In Shining Armor

    Kiir and his militia belives that, heavy rain strorm alway comes from the East, that is why their eyes are all on that direction (Bor). But there is heavy cloud that is building up from the opposite direction. Thus, unpredicted storm is going to surprise Kiir and his militia very soon.

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  • 5 January 11:10, by Positive Thinker

    I wish to call all South Sudanese in th e country and in diaspora to repent and pray for forgiveness from God. We are suffering from our own sins and only God can forgive us and restore the peace to this new nation. All of you who are commenting along tribal lines are adding fuel to a fire.
    Our leaders have gone astray and we are dying day and night, prperties destroyed and people displaced ....

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  • 5 January 11:17, by Positive Thinker

    From their homes. The leadership of president Kiir Mayardit should adopt reconciliatory tone instead of hard tones they are using now, let the government release the political detenees so that they contribute to bring an end to this crises, and the rebels should cease their attacks and destructions of lives and properties. We are all one, we are all south Sudanese, and we belong to this land.

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    • 5 January 17:27, by axle

      I really commend you Positive Thinker for your contribution and do agree also about use of softer tone but shouldn’t we be urging Riak to stop this senseless rebellion instead? All this is his doing. He chose arms over the polls. The last I heard, he was saying that his forces were matching onto Juba. Who is the aggressor here?

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