Home | News    Thursday 17 April 2014

Rebels were aided by foreign mercenaries in Unity state capital, says South Sudan army


April 16, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese army (SPLA) says it is preparing to launch a major offensive to retake Bentiu, the capital of the oil producing Unity state, calling on foreign mercenaries supporting rebel forces in the area to immediately withdraw.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) celebrate after recapturing Unity state capital Bentiu from rebel forces in January (Photo: Reuters)

The comments came following official confirmation that rebel fighters allied to former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar had seized control of the strategic town close to the Sudanese border.

“This is a temporary victory and should not be celebrated that much by rebels. We will take it,” SPLA spokesperson Colonel Philip Aguer told reporters on Wednesday, adding that government forces remained in the area.

Aguer claims that rebels entered the town on Monday with the help of foreign mercenaries, believed to be Janjaweed, the feared Arab militias active in Darfur and western Sudan.

“They (rebels) entered the town with help of some foreign mercenaries, but it is a matter of time before these mercenaries regret allying with these rebels,” he said.

In a later press statement, Aguer called on foreign mercenaries to withdraw from the town within the next 72 hours.

Multiple government officials have accused the government of neighbouring Sudan of aiding the rebels with military hardware and air cover.

“We know very well that rebels did not have any capacity to take Bentiu; otherwise they would not have fled when the SPLA forces captured it from them in January,” said Daniel Jok, a member of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) from the oil-contested region of Abyei.

“What happened is an indication that there is [a] foreign hand in this attack. There is no question that they (rebels) came from Sudan, because this is where they fled and we have been receiving reports of [the] training [of] recruits there,” he added.

In the first public account of the events which led up to the town’s recapture, Jok said Sudanese fighter jets made multiple, close-range passes in South Sudanese air space on Saturday amid escalating tensions in the region.

“This provocative military action goes against international protocols and previous agreements,” Jok told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.


South Sudanese rebels, meanwhile, have denied allegations they received support from neighbouring Sudan.

“We don’t receive support from any country, including Sudan. It is Juba and Khartoum that have cooperation agreements, including on the security arrangements at the border,” said Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak.

“Salva Kiir visited Khartoum last week and met with president Bashir to follow up on the implementation of the cooperation agreements. So how come they now turn around to allege that we get support from the very Sudan?” he added.

The Sudanese army (SAF) also issued a statement this week denying pro-Machar rebels were receiving training at camps inside Sudan, disissing the allagations as an attempt to destabilise relations between the two countries.

SAF spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad said Sudan remain a neutral position on the conflict and had no intention of interfering in the internal affairs of South Sudan.

Saad was responding to comments attributed to Aguer in the Londan-based Asharq Alawsat newspaper on Tuesday, in which the latter said the rebel troops that attacked Bentiu this week were trained inside Sudan.

“What we know now is that Machar forces received training inside Sudanese territory and under the supervision of the government army,” Aguer told Asharq Alawsat.

“What we know now is that Machar forces received training inside Sudanese territory and under the supervision of the government army,” he said.

In a statement issued following the town’s recapture, the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition called on oil companies operating in government-controlled areas to cease oil production and evacuate all staff within a week.

Rebel military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said oil companies that fail to comply are risking the safety of their staff and may face a forced shutdown of production.

Unity state has changed hands several times since political tensions erupted in violence in the capital, Juba, in mid-December.


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  • 17 April 2014 09:16, by Jalaby

    Well, if you (SPLA) are using SPLA-N, JEM and UPDF then why not Nuer rebellion use Janjaweed?!
    Yes, Janjaweed have joined Nuer rebellion and fighting with them shoulder to shoulder JEM & SPLA-N and SPLA!
    Janjaweed are known to be atrocious and feral fighters, adding to them braves Nuer fierce fighters then Juba has become very close than any other time!

    repondre message

    • 17 April 2014 09:37, by Sobat Boy

      Thanks Jalaba
      Thief Kirr used other foreigners to fight along side with him, what about Machar if they chose south sudan to warfield for every countries we will invite and who support us

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      • 17 April 2014 09:46, by Wicdail

        Who would believe this lies from a desperate regime? Where do they think rebels could get money to pay mercenaries? By the way, rebels do not need manpower from any foreign country to fight for them. What they need is logistic. If there is any Good Samaritan out there who can give them logistical support, then, these fools wouldn’t be sitting in Juba by July this year. Mark my words.

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        • 17 April 2014 11:23, by Rommel

          The government should have referred to these fighters as auxiliaries — which is an infinitely more appropriate term, because these fighters may not necessarily be getting payed in monetary terms; perhaps they’ve been promised permission to loot cattle from the Dinka of Pariang and Abiemmnom. Did you pay Khartoum when you were allies during the war?

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        • 18 April 2014 18:34, by machar

          you wicdail please who is the Nuer in particular they doing in Dinka territory move away because you are the people that should make country clear from what would account the what so far in the country,

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    • 17 April 2014 10:43, by Tong dut

      THOSE ARE THE REALY REBELS,NUER.where are Dinka Dogs?
      510 dead Dogs, bring more to die,Kill all Ugandan force and Dinkas.Then cut the face of the tribe like nuer and sent them to juba.

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      • 18 April 2014 17:57, by machar

        Tong Dut-please the ongoing military operation is not between Dinka and Nuer, so please you should not talk about the tribe if you are educated person.
        we condemn yr statement of tribal conflict, take away yr jams ngooth mai to your Nuer command.

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    • 17 April 2014 11:12, by Rommel

      You are delusional beyond measure. Why is it that you so desperately seem to want to forget that the SAF, the PDF and the Murahaleen allied with Paulino Matip during the war against the Dinka? Paulino Matip [a Major-General in the SAF] didn’t win, and he actually had a relatively disciplined fighting force.

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      • 17 April 2014 11:39, by Sobat Boy

        There is one thing confused Dinka people I do not know if ignored it or they do not know. all the time you talk about the war of 80s and 90s but Nuer of today are different from 90s both war and political. the failed of 80s and 90s will make us win this war we have that kind of confident otherwise no South Sudan will be a country put this in your little mind

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    • 17 April 2014 13:12, by mathem jech amer

      SPLA is planning to attack Bentiu from northern part and Janjaweed plus Riek forces will be pushed toward Warrap were Titweng will feast over them.

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    • 17 April 2014 16:27, by Bungachier 50

      Jalaba! A learnt person of your caliber should not take sides brother. Nuers are South Sudanese and are not worth dying on daily bases. What is happening is paining all of us the Patriotic Citizens of this Nation.

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    • 18 April 2014 07:49, by Johndumo14

      Rebels of Riek Machar are being trained in Kosti-Sudan.
      My friend has just come to Juba from Kosti,and he saw refugees WHO entered sudan be arested and forced to join training and sent to South sudan to fight,this is a true story,sudan is still playing his dirty game to s.sudan.

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  • 17 April 2014 11:21, by hellonearth

    Breaking News

    Coward Dinka have attacked and killed Nuer defenceless people at UNMISS in Bor Town. from my perspective this cowardly act was as a result of the Nuer celebrating the defeat of SPLA in Bentie. More to come

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    • 18 April 2014 18:18, by machar

      the celebration Nuer community in Bor unimiss compound was not a good willingness of educated kind of people but it was found out that Nuer fool Nuer were celebrating in Dinka areas forgetting that,James oah mai will go out soon in the position of being of general staff,

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  • 17 April 2014 12:40, by Majongdit

    Haha! Jalaby,
    You are day dreaming my friend. There is nothing as such. We are simply back into it - the same thing as it used to be - the Nuers + Arabs vs South Sudan. What you should now expect is a more robust rebellion in Sudan should it be confirmed that Sudan is involved. The equation is (Darfur + Nuba + Funj + Beja)S. Sudan = No Sudan

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  • 17 April 2014 18:04, by Knight In Shining Armor

    My message to freedom fighters is these, any UPDF POW captured must not leave South Sudan without Nuer traditional trade mark on their forehead. This is what they came fore. Send this strong message to their parliamentarians in Kampala that, South Sudan is not DRC, CAR or Somalia.

    repondre message

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