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South Sudanese rebels warn civilians to evacuate from border town

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July 8, 2015 (TORIT) - South Sudan rebel forces under the country’s former vice president, Riek Machar, have urged the citizens in Nimule town, at the border with Uganda, and other border towns to evacuate from the strategic towns along the South Sudan-Uganda border with immediate effect.

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South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar with the commander of special division I, Gen James Koang Chol Ranley, in Pagak, on 8 December 2014 (ST)

According to Lt. Col. James Lokudu, who spoke on behalf of the SPLA [IO] forces under the overall command of Maj.Gen. Martin Kenyi, the rebels attacked Nimule on Saturday night to test the strength of government troops in the area, saying a serious attack was underway.

He said their forces overran Nimule town on Saturday, but however regreted that their forces had to withdraw a few hours later in order to allow the citizens to safely vacate the town.

“We are people in the army; we are fighting for federalism and freedoms for our people. We do not want to hurt them in anyway, that is the work of Salva Kiir,” armed opposition officer Lokudu told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday near Nimule town.

“That is why we attacked only the army and police headquarters,” he said.

He added that after they saw many mothers and children running between bullets in the dark trying to escape to safety, “we told our troops to back down and withdraw to allow civilians leave the town.”

Col. Lokudu further explained that their forces in the Saturday attack targeted only Malakaya, Nimuli airport and the neighbouring suburbs at around 1:25am and sustained the battle for a few minutes before the government troops and police began fleeing the town, leaving the rebels in full control of Nimule for about three hours.

Lokudu said their forces captured two stores of ammunition, five mounted trucks and many AK47, RPGs and other light weapons in the town.

Fearing massive retaliation from the allied Ugandan-South Sudan troops, the rebels set blaze at least three trucks and the ammunition stores.

Eastern Equatoria State governor will lead a team to assess the clashes that occurred in Nimule town over the weekend, the state minister of information confirmed.

Mark Akio, the state government spokesperson, said it was on Saturday night, unknown gunmen had attacked a team of security personnel patrolling the area and burnt three vehicles.

One person was wounded in the incident, but no death cases reported across Nimule town despite the attack that took three hours in the border town, which serves as a main gateway to the national capital, Juba.

Nimule town administrator, David Eriga, also said additional forces have been deployed in the area, adding that the forces that ran away from the rebels would be replaced.

“The patrol is a normal patrol in the town. Those forces that came are to replace the ones that have been there,” Eriga said

Nimule town is the main border point connecting South Sudan to Uganda with the only tarmacked road linking to Juba. Rebels said the area is a target to disrupt the link between the two allied countries in the internal war.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 9 July 2015 08:26, by Ahmed Chol

    Why do you keep saying "unknown Gunmen" instead of saying rebels because the rebels claim responsibility for the shooting in Nimule.

    repondre message

    • 9 July 2015 16:06, by Ayom Ayom

      This is a big lie. I was in Nimule on Saturday and Sunday. No any attack from the rebels,

      repondre message

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