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Fighting erupts around South Sudan’s Wau town

July 20, 2018 (WAU) - Heavy fighting on Friday broke out between the government army and SPLA-IO rebels in South Sudan Wau state, while both sides accuse each other of starting the hostilities.

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SPLA forces patrol the street of Wau town on May 16, 2016 (ST)

The fighting took place in Ngo-Bagari Bagari, located 12 miles south-west of Wau, with heavy artilleries sounds being hard throughout the day.

The government and rebel groups signed a permanent ceasefire on 27 June 2018 in Khartoum, in the latest attempt to end the ongoing conflict.

Rebel spokesman in Western Bahr al Ghazal region Nichola Gabriel Adam told Sudan Tribune that the government forces launched a coordinated attack on their bases in the Eastern part of Bagari and Mboro in the south since Thursday and continued on Friday morning.

The same claim was confirmed by the SPLA-IO deputy spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel who said the government is preparing for more attacks in other parts of the troubled country.

"The (...) aggression resumed yesterday the 19/07/2018, when the same enemy forces attacked two SPLA IO defensive positions of Mboro at 11:30 AM and Bagari at about 5:00 PM with the intention of capturing them, but they were all repulsed by the SPLA IO gallant forces, that’s why they are back on it today (20 July)," said Gabriel.

Bagari, is seen as a strategic position in the Western Bahr el Ghazal region as it had been captured and recaptured by the government and rebel forces alike, several times since the eruption of the fighting in the country in December 2013.

For his part, the government army (SPLA)’s spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang accused the rebel fighters of ambushing their troops along the Ngo-Baggari-Mboro road. He pointed out that a government soldier was killed in the attack.

Lul also said rebel fighters attacked their defence positions in the area of Bringi on Friday morning, but they were repulsed.

“Our forces did not attack the rebels, they were just defending their position after being ambushed by the rebels,” said Lul.

This is the second violation of the ceasefire by both parties in Wau state, earlier last month, similar clashes took place in Roc-Roc dong county and forcing civilians to flee to Wau town.

MOBILIZATION IN EQUATORIA

Gabriel, in his statement, said the government forces are preparing for more attacks in the Imotong and Yei River states in the greater Equatoria region.

He said the SPLA on Wednesday morning carried out an "aerial hostile surveillance" on SPLA IO positions in Pageri, Imotong State.

"That reconnaissance mission lasted for more than 30 minutes, and we consider it as another act of provocation by the Juba regime," he further said.

Likewise, the rebel deputy spokesperson said the government is massing troupes in Rimenze, 18 Miles west of Yambio-Maridi road in preparation of an attack on SPLM/A-IO base in Rii-Rangu; (Western Equatoria).

Furthermore, he added that government forces in Kajo keji,Yei River State, received on 18 July reinforcements from Kaya via Koboko, Yumbe and Moyo to in preparation of new attacks against the SPLA IO positions in the area.

(ST)