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South Sudan rebels disown Juba attack after claiming responsibility


Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers singing pro-war song (AFP file photo)
January 6, 2018 (JUBA) - The military leadership of the main armed opposition under the overall command and leadership of the former First Vice President Riek Machar, has denied playing a role in the recent attack on Juba, backtracking claims made by one of its commanders to have coordinated with some government units to cause fighting in the capital of South Sudan.

Juba town, the capital of the young nation, witnessed a heavy exchange of gunfire in multiple locations on Thursday night, causing panic and forcing civilians to flee for safety after the eruption of fighting in western parts of the town.

The fighting, believed to have been instigated by the defection of soldiers loyal to the former Chief of Staff, Paul Malong Awan, started with a few random gunshots near the United Nations compound in the evening of January 4th, 2017. It later intensified between 11:20 pm and midnight and subsided after deployment of huge government forces to the area and withdrawal from the town of the fighters to the bush.

The “heavy machine gunshots” were reported by residents of Jebel Dinka, Gurei, Gudele, Lemon Gaba and Rock City.

Spokespersons of the government and its army on Friday admitted that fighting had erupted between the army units reinforced by rebels who infiltrated the town disguised as ordinary civilians, resulting in some deaths but the attackers were later driven out by the government forces and the calm had been restored.

Col. Chan Garang Lual, an associate of the former chief of army staff who rebelled in protest of the treatment given to him by the government and joined the SPLM-IO led by Riek Machar, claimed their forces participated in the attack inside Juba town. Lual told Sudan Tribune on Friday that the attack was a demonstration of their ability and capability to take Juba if the government does not stop launching attacks on their positions.

But in a statement released on Saturday, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel SPLA-IO Deputy Military Spokesperson denied any responsibility and instead blamed the government, saying it was an attempt to derail implementation of the ceasefire agreement

“The accusation made by the Juba regime’s Spokesperson Gen Lul Ruai that Lt Col. Chan Garang attacked a government post in Juba on 4/01/2018 at about 10:00 pm is absolutely baseless and an excuse to find a way to derail the upcoming peace process,” the statement reads in part.

The statement admitted that Lt Col. Chan Garang Lual was part of the movement but never left his base since he joined SPLA-IO. “Therefore claiming that he attacked Juba on 4/01/2018 is just a direct false accusation on the SPLA-IO which amounts to violations of the signed ceasefire,” stressed Gabriel.

The rebel spokesperson further called on the media to reflect fairness in their reporting in order to be influenced by either side in the conflict and dismissed any involvement in the attack.

“ The SPLA-IO distances itself from the attack in Juba. That fight was amongst the regime’s forces; those who defected have not yet declared their intention, so, linking them to the SPLA-IO immediately is fallacious and an act of cowardice from the regime,” he said.

The statement points out the government in Juba should accept the fact that there are disgruntled soldiers among its forces who will continue to defect from its army and join the rebel groups.

He further called on President Salva Kiir to accept peace to prevail instead of pursuing tribal ambitions".


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  • 6 January 23:52, by Jubaa5

    Lt Col. Chan Garang Lual was part of the army in Juba and ally of General Paul Malong.
    But things have changed now,things have gone from bad to worse with general king Paul and Lt Col.Chan Garang Lual and they were the ones hitting the rebels very hard even tried to kill Dr Riek Machar in Juba J1,what went wrong? How can they join Dr Riek rebels called SPLA,IO? What goes around comes around!!

    repondre message

    • 7 January 09:05, by Jubaa5

      All these wars from 2013 and up to now the problem is only Salva Kiir.Salva kiir dont want a new chairman to replace him in 2013,disarming the only Nuer army it was a mistake.
      Now again Salva kiir is using inocent dinkas to fight the rebels so he can stay as president for long time.Now most dinkas have realised that this monster is using them without salary for more than 8 months.No food!!

      repondre message

  • 7 January 00:01, by Jubaa5

    Aweil youth have joined rebellion now ,there are many people in the army and in the goverment from aweil ,wether you like or not,the days of Salva kiir are numbered.He Salva kiir now has many enemies,we all south sudanese are crying and looking someone in the army to rescue this country from further tatal colapse ,where are the brave generals in the army?? Do like Zimbwabe style long live s.sudan!

    repondre message

    • 7 January 07:10, by Tilo

      Time to give peace a chance, dissolve the government and the country should go for election and bring new people on board so the citizen can enjoy the fruits of this wonderful country.

      Taban Deng guy is now work to create tension between Dinkans, Where is the so called JCE, they cannot see the rat under their nose

      repondre message

  • 7 January 01:13, by Mayendit

    President Salve Kiir has to be worry now because the way Dinka make war is not like the way others rebels do war. Dinka people have a skillful for war and when you see Dinkas are defected this is absolutely most concern. By saying, the problems are only on the Dinka Malual side, this could be another failure to understand the whole situations. All Dinkas do not like the ways Kiir is run government

    repondre message

  • 7 January 03:02, by john akeen

    Now you Nuer, Equatoria, Blanda, Shilluk; need to stop blaming Dinka for what is going on in this country of ours, being a one nation is very important for our country and for all of us. I know you want Dinka to join you to overthrow Salva Kiir from public office, but at the same time you don’t like Dinka, but I just want to tell you one thing, if you have a big company, you can not do all>

    repondre message

    • 7 January 03:22, by john akeen

      the job in that company by yourself, or else, you will never get anything done in that company alone, you will gonna try and try to get the job done, but you’ll never get it done alone, believe me; because what you’re doing it’s just a lost among the people of south sudanese people everyday hear someone die, someone die, are you daft

      repondre message

      • 7 January 03:46, by john akeen

        I know there is some error in what I have wrote. Anyway, governments, youth, and Rebels are doing wrong things, why because they don’t know how to bring people together. Today I hurt vice Press James Wani in the SSBC Tv was talking about Children that was got stolen Murle, he said those kids they have forgotten to speak Equatorians and now they’re speaking Murle language>>

        repondre message

        • 7 January 04:01, by john akeen

          will in my opinion about what he said is wrong, why? Because according to our constitution it says first language should be English and second language should be Arabic, if it’s true, then why do we still speak those 64 languages? I think those language should be eliminated because its bring problem among our people and it doesn’t bring our people together in one place>>

          repondre message

          • 7 January 04:16, by john akeen

            our government should force the hall country to speak the language that our constitution says. I speak Dinka language very well, but I don’t like to speak it in public or at home at all times, I’m even trying to force my grandmother to speak English or Arabic every time she want to speak Dinka with me

            repondre message

  • 7 January 08:57, by Jubaa5

    Aweil youth have joined rebellion now ,there are many people in the army and in the goverment from aweil ,wether you like or not,the days of Salva kiir are numbered.He Salva kiir now has many enemies,we all south sudanese are crying and looking someone in the army to rescue this country from further tatal colapse ,where are the brave generals in the army?? Do like Zimbwabe style long live s.sudan!

    repondre message

    • 7 January 15:10, by South South

      That’s not correct. No Aweil Youth in IO. Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe and South Sudan is South Sudan. Let’s work for peace in our country.

      repondre message

      • 7 January 22:23, by Malakal county Simon

        Never denied the truth, if you’re really working for peace South South who are those of Chan, Agany and the likes if they are not Aweilian??

        repondre message

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