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S. Sudan army plans major offensives in Equatoria region: official

May 9, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudan army (SPLA) is planning a full-scale attack on positions held by rebel forces in the Greater Equatoria region, a senior government official told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

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Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers singing pro-war song (AFP file photo)

The official, who asked not to be named, said Gen. Santino Deng Wol was deploying thousands of soldiers around Kajo-Keji and another parts of Imatong state to dislodge the armed rebel forces.

Rebels allied to ex-first vice president, Riek Machar have been fighting with government in the Equatoria region since 8 July, 2016.

For the last six months, however, the rebels group has regained more territories in Equatoria region, with control mainly in the rural areas.

The rebel group’s deputy spokesperson, Lam Paul Gabriel confirmed to Sudan Tribune plans by pro-government forces to attack their positions.

Lam claimed their intelligence has intercepted the movement of government forces as clashes occurred in areas of Jale along the Kajo-Keji and Moyo border in Uganda.

“A join operation composed of SPLA-IO forces from Brigade 4B, Pageri Brigade and Brigade 4A Commanded by Lt. Col. Logo was carried out against the government militias based in Jale along Kajo keji and Moyo border yesterday at about 10:00 am. Ten enemies were killed, one captured alive and many wounded. The remaining enemy forces crossed to Moyo area in Uganda,” he told Sudan Tribune.

He rebel’s deputy spokesperson accused government forces of committing atrocities in Jalimo last month, where he claims SPLA targeted and killed civilians while crossing to Uganda for safety.

Sudan Tribune could, however, not independently verify claims made by the rebels.

Meanwhile, Lam urged the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), African Union, the United Nations and the International community to stop Juba regime from “committing crimes on innocent civilians”.

He warned that continued attacks on the areas currently being held by the armed opposition would escalate the war in the country.

“The SPLA-IO has the capacity to restore law and order in South Sudan, in light of the region’s collusion with the genocidal regime and the failure of African leaders and the world to act, with the SPLA-IO would be left with no choice rather than taking full war,” stressed Lam.

War-torn South Sudan has witnessed renewed clashes between forces loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir and the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) backing the country’s First Vice-President Riek Machar, in spite of the August 2015 peace agreement.

Up to 50, 000 civilians in South Sudan’s Upper Nile region are at imminent risk of human rights violations as government troops close in, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned.