December 6, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan army (SPLA) on Tuesday said it repulsed attempts by the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) fighters to take control of Yei town, the administrative headquarters of South Sudan’s newly-created Yei state.
- Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang, SPLA spokesperson, is seen at a containment site outside of the capital Juba on April 14, 2016. (AFP Photo)
The army’s spokesman, Lul Koang Ruai said the rebels "unsuccessfully" attacked government-held positions around Yei town over the weekend.
“It is not true. This is a white lie. There are no rebels I know operating in Equatoria state. What happened is that some "armed criminals attacked positions held by our forces around Yei over the weekend”, explained Koang.
"And they (SPLA) responded overwhelmingly with a deadly firepower. Our special forces were involved in ground attack and they were given very good air support by the SPLA Airforce”, he added.
The military spokesman said armed men engaged by their forces attacked Kargulu, Lasu, and Umbasi areas near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), adding that government had sent more troops aided with the Airforce cover.
Local officials and residents confirmed, in a series of interviews, the new offensives.
Government forces, according to multiple sources, were using ground and air strikes.
South Sudan government is waging an offensive war to recapture all areas held by armed opposition fighters in the area in preparation for dry season offensives.
The United States on Monday accused South Sudan government of deploying thousands of troops to Equatoria region, increasing prospects of violence escalation.
Fighting between government forces and the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) escalated to Central Equatoria state when violence erupted in Juba last July.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced from their homes to neighboring countries after their villages were also destroyed during intense fighting between the rival forces in violation of an initially-agreed upon ceasefire.
The United Nations has warned of possible genocide in South Sudan which the U.S said needed to be averted by holding leaders accountable and imposing arms embargo.