March 12, 2017 (JUBA) - The South Sudanese government on Sunday called on regional leaders to designate as a "negative force", the armed opposition forces (SPLM-IO) operating in the war-ravaged nation.
“The president has declared a national dialogue which has been welcomed by all the countries and leaders in the region because the dialogue is the only way to resolve political issues,” said presidential advisor on security, Tut Kew Gatluak.
“Why continue to fight when the national dialogue has been declared? If there are issues, the national dialogue is the platform through which all these issues would be discussed,” he added.
The presidential advisor went on to mention that those who support the war are a negative force and the government would need to take a firm stance for peace.
“But if there are people who refused this dialogue and continue to advocate for war, the region needs to come out clearly to affirm support to the peace agreement and work with the government to declare these people who are continuing to promote war as a negative force,” Gatluak told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
Tut Kew Gatuak claimed the armed opposition forces were “bandits” who had no objectives. “These people who are still carrying arms and killing people are bandits. They have no clear political objectives. Their objectives are simply to kidnap, rape innocent women and loot,” he claimed.
The presidential advisors’ justification for calling the armed opposition bandits was due to the kidnapping of two Indian oil engineers who were taken in an oil field located in Gueluguk North.
The SPLA-IO spokesman Col. William Gatjiath Deng said in a statement last week that their forces captured two Indian nationals who were identified as Ambross Edward and Muggy Vijaya Boopathy.
“Despite repeated warnings from the SPLA-IO leadership, the two Indians engineers namely Mr Ambross Edward and Mr Muggy Vijaya Boopathy working for the Juba regime were captured yesterday Thursday, March 09, 2017 alive during the fighting between the gallant SPLA-IO forces, and the Juba regime soldiers and their Sudanese rebel allies in and around the new oil site at Guelguk north, Adar,” said Col. Deng said.
The armed opposition spokesperson explained in the statement that Edward and Boopathy were captured after rebel forces under the command of Major General Khor Chuol Giet and Brigadier General Gatbel Kuach “disintegrated, defeated, and killed” at least thirty-three government soldiers.
He also proclaimed the SPLA-IO defeated and inflicted heavy losses on government troops and its allies from the Sudanese rebel group.
The rebel spokesman further claimed that the armed opposition took control of the area and warned of unspecified consequences if Juba and its Sudanese allies continue attacking the SPLA-IO positions.