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Another rebel commander shot dead in war-torn South Sudan

January 7, 2017 (JUBA) – Another rebel commander has been shot dead in South Sudan, barely two days after the killing of General Gabriel Tanginye in Upper Nile state, sources confirmed on Saturday.

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South Sudan’s main opposition leader, Lam Akol (AFP)

Maj. Gen. Yohanis Okiech was reportedly killed after his forces clashed with armed opposition troops in Thoroji, north of Upper Nile.

“At around 10:30am this morning, SPLA-IO forces under Division One Major General Parom and Brigadier General Diang Latjor pursued and killed Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin’s most notorious militia commander Major General Yohanis Okiech Okic, along with his 27 bodyguards, at Thoroji toward Lirri on South Sudan-Sudan border,” the SPLA-IO director for information, William Gatjiath Deng, said in a statement.

Five soldiers loyal to Ajawin, he added, were also captured during the operation and are under the command of the SPLA-IO Sector One commander Lt. Gen. Johnson Olony at Kaka miliarity base.

“In addition, two military vehicles mounted with 12.7 1-zuu-37 were captured in good conditions,” further said Deng in the statement.

The SPLA-IO deputy chief of staff for administration, Gen. James Koang Chuol confirmed Okiech’s death in a separate interview.

He said forces loyal to Ajawin declined to surrender despite repeated attempts by the SPLA-IO troops to extend this initiative.

“I have been in contact with the leader of the group to surrender peacefully, but they refused my initiative, so we had no other option as they continued attacking our forces in the area,” said Chuol.

Okiech, an ex-government defected last year to join the SPLM/A-IO, but later quit the rebel movement and re-united ranks with Ajawin.

Ajawin, a former minister in coalition government, is yet to react to Okeich’s death, days after one of his senior commanders was killed.