October 10, 2016 (JUBA) – Opposition forces allied to the former First Vice President, Riek Machar, have claimed to have captured Kediba, the headquarters of Mundri East county in Western Equatoria region.
- A batch of the SPLA-IO forces after arrival in Juba, 1 April, 2016 (ST Photo)
The new development emerged as deadly road ambushes by armed men have also been reported on Juba-Yei and Juba-Nimule roads, the main road connecting the South Sudanese capital with the neighbouring Uganda.
In a statement released from the office of the army Division 9 of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), General Wesley Welebe Samson, the town fell into the hands of the opposition forces on Sunday at 12:15pm.
“Yesterday at 12:15 PM, Kediba, the Headquarters of Mundri East County in Western Equatoria was liberated by people’s resistance force, the SPLA-IO. The forces of regime including the county employees were scattered and ran in disarray. Our forces remained in full control of the town till this hour,” partly reads the statement seen by Sudan Tribune on Monday.
The statement said the SPLA-IO force commander in Mundri decided to take over the town due to the ongoing raping of women in the area allegedly by forces loyal to President Salva Kiir.
"We have full names of those raped by the government forces in Mundri from July to date. Those names are available and the governor and the SPLA-IG (SPLA in Government] commander in Mundri must answer to it in the court of law,” it said.
“We are determined to protect the citizens of South Sudan and we will not entertain such act to continue. We will fight for the freedom and liberation of the people of Greater Mundri,” it added.
Mundri East is located west of Juba and it is the closest county in Western Equatoria state to the national capital.
They also called on the civilians in the area to distance themselves from the government’s garrisons, saying they are their prime target.
"We advise all citizens of Greater Mundri to keep their distance from where the army [are] so that they are not caught up in cross fire,” it said.
Insecurity has increased in Equatoria region with frequent attacks reported in the past few weeks. On Monday three passenger buses were attacked on Juba-Nimule road following the recent attack on “commercial vehicles” on Juba-Yei road which left dozens killed.
SPLA-IO however said it was not responsible for the attacks targeting civilians in the two incidents. Violence has however spread in Equatoria region against the government.