October 2, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s opposition forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA-IO), have said that their troops are in full control of Morobo town in Central Equatoria. They added they have been in the town for five days after dislodging government forces.
- South Sudanese SPLA soldiers in Pageri in Eastern Equatoria state on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Samir Bol)
Officials of the South Sudanese army this week could not deny or confirm whether fighting took place in the area and who was in control, with the military spokesman, Brig. Lul Ruai Koang saying he did not receive any official report about the fate of Morobo.
The opposition faction under the leadership of Riek Machar, former First Vice President, however said they have been in control of the town, adding the government only shied away from admitting that they have lost the town to their forces.
“It is five days since our forces captured Morobo. They have been in full control of the town,” James Gatdet Dak, opposition leader’s spokesperson, told Sudan Tribune.
He also said fighting erupted in Eastern Equatoria’s Magwi county between the rival forces this week.
Other fierce clashes have been reported around Bentiu, the capital of the oil rich Unity state, between forces loyal to President Kiir and those loyal to Machar.
Dak said the process of resisting the regime under the leadership of President Salve Kiir is gaining momentum in freeing the people of South Sudan, adding that the forces had been reorganizing for a full scale armed resistance due to the collapse of the August 2015 peace deal.
He said that Kiir has the choice of resuscitating the peace deal as it was signed or face a “determined resistance” that will see him exit from power.
The SPLA-IO, he claimed, are getting stronger in Equatoria region more than ever before and it was a matter of time before the situation will be made to change in Juba.
War has erupted again on 8 July when rival forces clashed at the presidential palace and the subsequent attack on Machar’s residence.
The former First Vice President, who was replaced after he escaped from Juba, has declared an armed resistance against the government.
If independently confirmed, the capture of Morobo, a town south of Juba in the newly created Yei River state of Central Equatoria, where the seat of the national government is situated, would be seen as a threat to the capital.