Home | News    Monday 9 June 2014

S. Sudanese army abandons positions in Jonglei: rebel spokesperson

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June 8, 2014 (NAIROBI) - A military spokesperson of the South Sudanese rebels led by the former vice president, Riek Machar, has released a statement suggesting a new development in which the South Sudanese troops and their Ugandan allied forces were allegedly fleeing from areas they previously occupied in Jonglei state for fear of rebel attacks.

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South Sudanese rebel troops loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar stand on guard in Unity state capital Bentiu on 12 January 2014 after recapturing the strategic town from government troops (Photo: Reuters)

Brig Lul Ruai Koang in the Sunday press release said troops belonging to the South Sudan army (SPLA) and Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have abandoned their positions in Gadiang, Poktap and Wernyol bases and headed towards Bor, the state capital.

“Kiir’s troops and UPDF’s forces that had been occupying Gadiang forward base in Duk County, Jonglei had abandoned it along with Poktap, and Wernyol barracks. Other smaller military outposts were also abandoned,” he revealed.

He further said the government forces in Ayod, north of Bor have also abandoned the area, moving to the state capital, after hearing about the abandonment by their colleagues in other strategic locations.

Koang said the rebel forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A in Opposition) had filled in by occupying the abandoned areas “to avoid security vacuum and possible lawlessness.”

The military spokesperson further alleged that a three-hour gun battle also ensued between government troops that wanted to abandon areas and forces loyal to president Kiir who wanted to remain in their positions. The fighting forced troops recruited from Greater Bahr el Ghazal region, home to president Kiir, to cross west of the Nile into Lakes state.

However, Koang warned that the state capital, Bor, was the next target as the rebels may march towards Juba, the national capital, in case of failure of the peace talks in Addis Ababa.

“With no UPDF forces in forward bases, Bor is left vulnerable to winds of change, Juba and eventually the whole country,” he said.

Residents inside Bor town have confirmed to Sudan Tribune the new development, saying the incoming soldiers who abandoned positions were roaming in the town while others were moving southwards towards Juba.

“They [soldiers] looked disorderly and exhausted. Some went on rampage, looting the market in town and shot dead two business people who tried to resist the looting of their properties,” one resident told Sudan Tribune on phone on Monday.

It is not yet clear what prompted the government troops to abandon such strategic positions.

CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES AGREEMENT

However, James Gatdet Dak, spokesperson of the rebel leader, Riek Machar, explained that their fighters had not attacked the government positions, saying they have continued to respect the political agreement on cessation of hostilities signed on 9 May between his boss and president Salva Kiir.

He blamed the disorderly abandonment of the areas by the government forces on the fear of unknown.

“This could be a result of panic for the fear of unknown as the four-month rainy season has begun and will make the poor roads or swamps impassable. Apparently this will deny such government barracks further reinforcements or logistical supplies, including delivery of monthly salaries as many airstrips will not be usable,” Dak hinted.

South Sudanese rebels have in the past hinted that they would advance during the wet season as this may render ineffective tanks and other military vehicles used by the government and its allies against their forces which are mainly infantry units.

SPLA DISMISS REBEL CLAIMS

The spokesperson of the SPLA, Col. Phillip Aguer, however, dismissed the rebels’ claims, saying the security situation was generally under control in most part of the country.

"The general security situation as at the moment is under control in most parts of the country, except in Unity and Upper Nile states where the rebels of Riek Machar, have been launching attacks on the positions of the SPLA forces in Renk, Gelacheng and Wangkai, but the SPLA forces managed to repulse them and remained in their positions", Aguer told Sudan Tribune Monday.

The SPLA, he said, did not follow the rebel forces since as a national army, they have to orders and instructions from the government and the general command.

"The SPLA command was directed by the commander in chief to ensure they do not lift a foot from their current positions to positions held by Riek Machar rebels", he said.

"These orders have been complied with as a commitment of the government to respecting the ceasefire agreement which the president and the rebel leader, Riek Machar signed on 9th May in Addis Ababa", Aguer added.

(ST)

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  • 9 June 10:08, by Joseph Canada

    Ya Philip lying Aguer, the civilians in Bor town have confirmed it, the killing of the two business men have also been confirmed. How long are you going to lie and keep lying? You are are an army man who is supposed to tell the truth even though Dinka Blood have no truth running in them.

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    • 9 June 17:40, by machar

      Mr.Joseph Canada
      sorry for yr comments,there is no relationship between Dinka as tribe and Uganda as country shame on you.Dinkas defeated Nuers with Arab together in 1991 confirm?.

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    • 9 June 18:01, by machar

      Joseph Canada
      when British left Sudan they had dedicated to all over 63 ethnic groups in south sudan excluding nuer that this people must not be given leadership due to their devilishness,however,Riek has spoil your dignity hence the leadership given to Nuer is like evil gift.

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  • 9 June 12:18, by WendeMajok

    Can anyone tell the rebels that, the move is a respond to the peace deal. I wonder, who is fooling who here?

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  • 9 June 16:01, by Kim Deng

    When coward Jaang realized that Ugandan army is leaving Ngundeng City/Mading Bor, they decided to evacuate those areas without resistance. They want Ugandan army to fight their war, but it’s a matter of time before they leave the country for good.

    repondre message

  • 9 June 16:08, by Kim Deng
  • 9 June 16:16, by Kim Deng

    I don’t know if Mr. Slava’s Empire run out of $$$ to pay Ugandan army.
    http://upperniletimes.net/details/796

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    • 9 June 16:58, by Clausewitz

      Kim Deng:
      There were no Ugandans when we defeated you in the 90s, even when Khartoum assisted you in every way imaginable. You couldn’t even defend your counties at that point. How many times have your websites hailed the fall of Renk and Malakal and their ’lightning speed’ advance on Bor, only for it to turn out to be untrue!?

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  • 9 June 16:26, by Bolong

    Joseph Canada, you jumped on this article and turned it to be your truth say by your spokesperson. You call the national army SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer that he is a liar. Your spokesperson said that "SPLA abandons its positions in Jonglei and our forces fill in" he went on and say! "because it is rainy season our forces are moving to Bor and from there to Juba and there will be no way for SPLA t

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  • 9 June 17:28, by Bolong

    o -move their heavy weapons". Your man sound like a boy who was sent by his father that go and tell them my father is sleeping, so the boy went back and told his father friends that my father said go tell them I am sleeping. If you broke the truce then say yes and don’t beats around the bush. You have caught up with rainy season, thinks about war crimes. Let’s talk peace.

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  • 9 June 19:36, by George Bol

    Nuer media are producing propaganda to the world while their men in the field are seriously dying of hunger and bullet.
    Nuer your lying will not help you.

    repondre message

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