Home | News    Sunday 3 May 2015

South Sudanese rebels say made tactical withdrawal in Unity state


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

May 2, 2015, (ADDIS ABABA) - South Sudan’s opposition fighters loyal to former vice-president, Riek Machar, on Saturday said they tactically withdrew from some areas in Unity state in order to avoid harming the civil population in their battles with forces loyal to president Salva Kiir.

SPLA soldiers sit in a pick-up in the key north oil city of Bentiu after capturing it from rebels on 12 January 2014 (Photo: AFP/Simon Maina)

They dismissed reports from the government which suggested the rebel forces were defeated in Nhial Diew Payam on Thursday.

South Sudanese army (SPLA) on Friday claimed that they regained control of rebel-held areas in Nhialdiu payam, south-west of Unity state’s capital, Bentiu.

“The government forces did not make any defeat or advancement to our areas,” said Dickson Gatluak Jock, deputy spokesperson and military press assistant to the rebel group.

He said the rebel forces only made a military tactical withdrawal when fighting took place around Bentiu in an area called Thowmangoor, saying their forces moved back for reorganisation.

“They [rebels] made a slight move outside of the towns in Guit and Nhial Diu for re-organization but not north or Heglig as allegedly reported” Gatluak told Sudan Tribune on Saturday, adding the rebel forces were not under pressure.

He also added the rebel forces were still in Mayom county around Bull two areas, further dismissed claims that government forces had taken control of Mayom county.

“These claims are totally baseless. It’s still under our control,” he said adding “We are in Bull two and the government forces are in Bull one.”

He also dismissed reports saying that rebel forces were being seen fleeing towards Heglig area along the border with neighbouring Sudan.

The opposition forces further accused government troops of continuing with the acts of looting, burning and raiding cattle from the local civil population.

The two warring parties have been trading accusations on violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement after collapse of the last round of peace talks in Addis Ababa.


Meanwhile, an Ethiopian and South Sudanese joint peace committee has presented a new proposal which they said would help the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional bloc mediating South Sudan conflicting parties, in its mediation process.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune, David Kueth, chairman of the South Sudan Peace Committee said the proposal was on how to swiftly rescue the stalled peace talks as a contribution to the mechanism being developed by IGAD.

The proposal, Kueth said, also called on the mediation to invite field commanders of the two warring parties to directly participate in the peace talks in Addis Ababa to discuss the security arrangements.

Three copies of the proposal, he said, were handed over to IGAD’s chief mediator, Seyoum Mesfin, with two copies to be given to the two principals of the rival groups, president Salva Kiir and rebel leader, Riek Machar.

IGAD said it will study and assess the proposal before incorporating it into the IGAD-Plus peace initiative.

Peace talks between South Sudan rivals collapsed on 6 March after both SPLM factions failed to bridge in most of the outstanding issues. Earlier this week, the chief mediator Mesfin however told reporters in Addis Ababa that the two sides have bridged more than 90% of their differences however there are few but very important issues that needed to be resolved.

“That is why we are strengthening the peace process” he said citing the IGAD plus peace initiative.

No new timetable is however set for the resumption of the peace talks which aims to end a year and a half long conflict in the world’s youngest nation.


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  • 2 May 2015 23:58, by Mapuor

    Children of the poor Nuers need peace not war. Rebels should not make tactical withdrawal but should surrender and pursue their well being and that of their beloved families. The current war is meaningless and should be stopped immediately. We need peace. President Kiir is our legitimate president and should continue to rule till next elections and beyond.

    repondre message

    • 3 May 2015 06:42, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      Their flowery language is acceptable as long as they are not coming back to reclaim them.

      repondre message

    • 3 May 2015 08:57, by Rommel


      What do you mean by ’beyond’? Elections alone determine whether or not you have the people’s trust and support, and we can’t have free an fair elections in South Sudan because this kleptocratic regime makes it absolutely impossible to campaign freely. There is no free press because we now have a Stasi-like State.

      repondre message

    • 3 May 2015 16:00, by bianaathling

      Mapour,u need to grow up your point doesnot make sense.i witnessed how poor some dinkas are especially when i was in rumbek.Young girls,women and men with old ages use to begged any one they se e on the roads.so does it mean that u are reach?.Tactical withdraw is the song always sing by Philip Aguer why is it a problem or sign of defeat if rebels used too.stop your negative thinking against Nuer.w

      repondre message

    • 4 May 2015 07:54, by Mayom County Boy

      why withdraw their forces from that territory
      because of what ?

      repondre message

  • 3 May 2015 07:04, by Makuer Marou Manok

    Best to admit the defeat mr. DIckson there is no need of denying the defeat. It is clear that you are completely defeated in Unity state.

    repondre message

  • 3 May 2015 08:12, by lino

    The acting Governor of Unity State was one of Reik’s supporters when he was studying medicine in Mansoura, Egypt back in 1991.
    I don’t know why these people just change so fast because of money and positions?

    repondre message

    • 3 May 2015 14:01, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      Go to his office and tell him like that.

      repondre message

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