August 12, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese rival forces have clashed east of the River Nile, southeast of the national capital, Juba, for the first time as fighting escalates around the capital.
- South Sudanese SPLA soldiers in Pageri in Eastern Equatoria state on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Samir Bol)
Official spokesperson of the forces loyal to the former First Vice President, Riek Machar, said fighting erupted on Friday after government forces attacked their forces on the eastern side of the Nile River.
“There was fighting on Friday between our forces and those loyal to President Kiir. It occurred between Rejaf East and Lobonok on the eastern side of the River Nile, about 30km southeast of Juba,” said James Gatdet Dak, spokesperson for Machar.
He said 15 soldiers were killed on the side of President Kiir’s forces that fell into ambush. Four military trucks, he added, were destroyed and only 1 truck managed to escape back towards Juba.
He said there was no reported fighting in other areas south, west and northwest of Juba as their forces have taken full control of Juba-Yei and Juba-Mundri roads as well as northwest of the city.
It was the first time that the fighting has escalated across the Nile to the east of the capital since the resumption of violence in Juba last month.
Lobonok area where the latest fighting took place between it and Rejaf is the home area of the country’s second Vice President, James Wani Igga.
Dak claimed that their forces have besieged Juba from different directions and that it was a matter of time before they could take control of Juba.