Home | News    Thursday 16 June 2016

South Sudan army says “bandits” repulsed from Lol state capital

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June 15, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s national army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), said they have repulsed “bandits” who had earlier on overrun Raja, the administrative capital of the newly-established Lol state in Greater Bahr el Ghazal region.

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A SPLA soldier stands in front of a vehicle in Juba on December 20, 2013. (Photo Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

The SPLA spokesperson, Brig. Lul Ruai Koang, acknowledged that fighting erupted inside Raja town on Wednesday morning when fighters he described as “criminals” and “bandits” overran the town and chased out of the town senior government officials, including the state governor, Rizik Zachariah Hassan who fled in disarray.

“In the early hours of Wednesday, June 15, 2016, armed criminals and bandits attacked SPLA’s defensive position in Raga town. The attackers have been repulsed and mopping operations is going,” Koang said.

“More updates will follow,” he added, in a press statement he issued on Wednesday evening, nearly 12 hours after the state capital was seized by the unknown gunmen.

Koang also assured the citizens of the SPLA’s ability to defend them, despite the fall of the state capital under the control of the gunmen on Wednesday morning.

“SPLA would like to assure the people of South Sudan that it has ability and capability to defeat armed criminals/bandits against the implement of peace agreement and reconciliation,” he said.

It was unclear why it took the whole day delay for the army’s official spokesperson to inform the nation about the incident. He did not also explain how the attackers entered the state capital and what were the casualties involved.

In the attack, which occurred while governor Rizik Zechariah Hassen and his cabinet were in a meeting in Raga, the unknown gunmen stormed the state capital, forcing the cabinet members to flee from the town and run in different directions for their safety.

While governor Hassan was reported to have successfully escaped up to Aweil West county, some of his officials’ whereabouts, including the deputy governor, were not known during the day.

Koang, in his statement, also called on their partner’s co-national army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), to help the SPLA fight the attackers.

SPLA-IO is under the command of the First Vice President, Riek Machar, while SPLA is under the command of President Salva Kiir. The two are co-national armies per the August 2015 peace agreement until they will be reunified in the years to come.

Although no group has declared responsibility for the assault on Raga, chiefs of the area had earlier voiced their rejection to the creation of the new Lol state which combines Raja county with parts of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.

The area also witnessed presence of the SPLA-IO forces that have not yet been cantoned or assembled.

Residents of Raja said the gunmen were seen in the town, suggesting they had taken control of the state capital Wednesday morning.

Fighting continued in the afternoon when SPLA sent in reinforcements to recapture Raja.

(ST)

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  • 15 June 2016 21:41, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    Many thanks to SPLA, but
    Brig. Gen. Lul, who are those militia really, are they not alliance to Riek Machar militia?

    repondre message

    • 15 June 2016 23:53, by Stephen kuach

      What a shame to even think South Sudan has National army when infact they can just be overrun by group of bandits or lawless thugs,that mean no where is safe to live in S.Sudan.

      repondre message

  • 16 June 2016 07:22, by Eastern

    There’s a difference between "over run" and "repulsed"; whatever happened in Raja only those who smelt it would live to tell South Sudanese another day.....

    repondre message

  • 16 June 2016 08:50, by Dengda

    Too priorities are pending urgently, cantonment of the IO & payment the national army salaries or else it will trends, Kajo-keji and Raja town incidents, seem there’s correlation between these two incidents. I was told by my trust friend who resides in Raja that the army was inform of the incident but refused take action against so called bandits by the spokesman, well something is not clear ther

    repondre message

  • 16 June 2016 09:07, by Awei-ngok

    This attack was coordinated and facilitated by SPLM-IO rebels in South Darfur State. Everybody is aware of their presence in Sudan. The group linked to SPLM-IO Commander Dau Aturjong is the one linked to yesterday attack. Riek should admit having orchestrated this attack. He should be held accountable for all the human and materials losses in Raja yesterday. It was a bad peace signed indeed!

    repondre message

    • 16 June 2016 09:58, by Eastern

      Now that you know that much about the organic of the attack, can you ask Kiir and his former nemesis now ally Dr Riek Machar to cantone their forces so that any armed forces outside their forces will be considered bandits and thugs?

      repondre message

    • 16 June 2016 13:06, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

      "Bad peace" to you oppressor. South Sudan needs freedom to decide on her destiny and not orders, decrees from an individual. As long as you impose your rule by force, then your force will encounter force.

      repondre message

    • 16 June 2016 13:12, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

      The government should not use state resources to kill, plunder people’s things and oppress citizens of different ethnic background that are not from tribes of the rulers.

      repondre message

  • 16 June 2016 11:22, by Active man

    Lets us not put everything under Machar I believe 28 states are behind the violent. we must focus for peaceful co existence among our community.

    repondre message

  • 16 June 2016 14:35, by Kerem

    The peace analysts in the world were wrong by putting South Sudan as second last peaceful Country in the world. It should have appeared actually last in the ranking. We are at Somalia and Syria levels now. The difference is that we do not have the bombs blasters to do that but our actions now are worth that

    repondre message

    • 16 June 2016 16:39, by Hardlinner

      kerem, suicide bombing is part of culture in south Sudan, even Sudan does not initiates such backward culture.

      repondre message

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