April 29, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese army has downplayed recent warnings from rebel forces who have threatened to attack civilians in Warrap and Jonglei states should they fail to vacate the areas.
- South Sudan army spokesperson Phillip Aguer (AP)
The rebels, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, warned civilians in Bor and Warrap state to either leave their homes or camp at the nearest United Nations base.
“This statement serves a warning to the civilian population in areas adjacent to Unity state and those in Bor town. We want them to leave where they are settled at the moment before our forces on rescuing mission carried out peremptory and rescuing operations to liberate our people from the bondage of dictatorship. We want them to leave as soon as possible," partly reads the statement, bearing names of Major Gen. Gatwech Dual and Unity state’s military governor, Major Gen. James Koang Chuol.
"Our forces are coming anytime from now," it added, further warning civilians not to ignore the looming attack on the two states.
Bor, the capital of the country’s largest state, recently witnessed the killing of dozens of civilians, largely from Nuer ethnic group after they were attacked by an armed youth groups who stormed the UN base in the area.
Describing it as operation rescue, the rebels claimed they were advancing on Bor town in a "lightening speed", threatening to crash anyone who stands on their way.
They also reiterated calls for Ugandan troops, currently fighting alongside South Sudan government forces to immediately leave the country they invaded.
"Our people fought against war of invasions for hundreds of years until the country became independent state, in 2011. Now, Uganda has invaded this precious land, which we fought to liberate. We will not accept," noted the rebel statement.
"We have an obligation to reclaim our country from the hand of invaders," it added.
South Sudan army spokesperson, Col. Philip Aguer, described the rebel threats to retake Bor town and attack Warrap, as an “unachievable wishful thinking”.
“This is not the first time we are hearing these threats to attack Bor. We have heard them issues these threats before," he told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.
Both sides have been accused of violating the cessations of hostilities agreement signed in January to end the conflict that spiraled since its outbreak in December last year.
The United States government recently threatened to impose sanctions on individuals seen to be obstructing the peace process in the world’s youngest nation.