January 4, 2017 (JUBA)-The command of South Sudanese army (SPLA) has denied clashing with rebels in Eastern Equatoria region, describing claims to have captured military posts in Torit as "making of the New Year".
- South Sudanese SPLA soldiers in Pageri in Eastern Equatoria state on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Samir Bol)
“The New Year celebrations in the country and particularly in Eastern Equatoria went well. The security situation is under control. There was no problem, no clashes; everything is quite and calm”, a military officer in Torit town told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday when reached to comment on reports that a military outpost was overran and briefly controlled by armed dissident youth in the area.
The acting spokesperson of the government forces, Dominic Santo said in a separate statement he was not aware of fighting in Torit and its environs, asserting that neither the state governor nor command of the government forces in the area had reached out to the general command with reports of clashes.
He however confirmed a road ambush by gunmen he described as "bandits" on Monday and raid on a village on Tuesday. Several civilians also confirmed road ambush incident and denied fighting in Torit town.
While the spokesperson of the government forces denied any knowledge of the clashes, the spokesperson of the rebel SPLA-IO led by Riek Machar claimed to have overran a military outpost where they killed 20 military and captured several other weapons in a place called Lolore and Cholore along Magwi road.
“It was in the afternoon when the SPLA-IG launched an attack on the SPLA-IO at the contention base along Torit, Maguiy (Magwi) road at the area called Lolore. The attackers were repulsed and pursued back to Cholore, the out cut (outskirts) of Torit town, 30 minutes’ walk after a fierce battle shown to them by the freedom fighters commanded by Gen. Fatrick Ohiti”, the statement reads in part.
The statement bearing the name of Col. William Gatjiath Deng, spokesperson of Riek Machar forces, claimed 20 dead bodies were found exposed on the sunshine and 36 Ak -47, 4 PKM machine guns and 2 RPG-7 are captured in good condition. Other weapons claimed to have been captured after the clash was pickup truck mounted with 12.7. The vehicle has allegedly been destroyed.
It claimed wide spread vanishing of the civilians in the whole of Equatoria region since last year. Systematic killings of the innocent people, rape of teenage girls and women and the burn down villages everywhere, forcing the affected civilians to leave their homes and to take refuge in the forests.