January 30, 2017 (JUBA) - The SPLM-IO Monday said its fighters have successfully repulsed an attack by the government forces on their bases in and around Kuek, Upper Nile State.
- Rebel fighters hold their weapons in the air as they walk in front of a bushfire in rebel-controlled territory in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state on 13 February 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune the rebel spokesperson William Gatjiath Deng claimed that the government forces, backed by " Sudanese rebels of the Justice and Equality Mvement (JEM) and SPLM-North" came from Gabat, Khor and Mustagbal areas.
He added they pushed the assailants back towards their bases in Khor and Gabat "where the Juba regime soldiers are now being surrounded and confined without access to any further support or/and reinforcement by land."
Deng went further to say they inflected heavy human and material losses on the SPLA soldiers.
"The gallant SPLA-IO forces captured three (3) Tanks, one (1) T-72, one (1) T-55, one (1) Wolit and a good number of guns in good condition," he said.
The SPLA-IO fighters say they intend to stop oil production in the oil producing Upper Nile state which is located in the remote north of the country near the Sudanese border.
The SPLM-IO used to accuse the Sudanese rebel groups of fighting them alongside the government troops.
However, recently Sudan and South Sudan said they agreed on the implementation of the security arrangements agreement of September 2012 which provides to establish a buffer zone and to deploy joint border monitoring teams.
Also, South Sudanese say the Sudanese rebel have moved out of the South Sudanese territory in line with Addis Ababa peace agreement.
In a related development, UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) expressed concern about the fighting in and around Malakal between the government and SPLM-IO forces.
The peacekeeping mission reports that on Sunday "the situation in the town remained tense. It continues to patrol regularly in Malakal, which is apparently largely deserted," said UN spokesperson Stéphane Durriac Monday.