JUBA – The holdout National Salvation Front (NAS) led by General Thomas Cirillo Swaka has said that it has killed at least seven (7) South Sudan army soldiers after SSPDF forces stationed in Yei River County allegedly attacked NAS positions on directives of Governor Emmanuel Adil Anthony.
In a statement, the National Salvation Front said the alleged attacks on their position comes as directive from the governor of Central Equatoria state Emmanuel Adil Anthony who the group said had directed the security forces to go after NAS during his July 9 visit to Yei River County.
“The Leadership of National Salvation Front (NAS) would like to inform its members, the people of South Sudan and members of the International Community on the recent security developments in Central Equatoria State,” the statement said.
“On 20th July 2022, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and its allied militia attacked a NAS tactical base along Yei – Maridi Road. This unprovoked attack was a result of the outcome of the security meeting held by the governor of Central Equatoria State while on his latest visit to Yei for the 9th July Independence celebration; the governor directed the security agencies in Yei to conduct operations against NAS forces in areas of Yei, Lainya and Morobo Counties respectively,” the statement added.
The group said the opposition forces neutralized the SSPDF soldiers and killed seven soldiers as well as capturing a number of weapons including five AK47 and said that the SSPDF force that was behind the attack has lost its command.
“The gallant NAS forces countered this desperate attack on its base, mounting a successful counter attack, leading to the total neutralization of the SSPDF threats,” the statement said.
“In this counter operation mission seven (7) SSPDF died in action, several others wounded, five (5) AK 47 riffles and one (1) PKM machine gun recovered in good condition. As we report, the SSPDF in this operation lost their command and are retreating in disarray, being pursued by the gallant NAS forces,” the statement added.
While reiterating its commitment to the cessation of hostilities agreement the group signed with the government in December 2017, the group said it is having information over alleged movement and activities of SSPDF troops some parts of Equatoria.
“On a separate development NAS intelligence is closely monitoring the movement and activities of SSPDF in Lainya County especially in Kenyi Payam, Morobo County as well as Western Equatoria State. As NAS closely monitors this development, it assures its members of its readiness to respond decisively to any provocation by the SSPDF and its allies,” the statement said.
“NAS reiterates its commitment to the Cessions of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) signed on 21st December 2017 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, and to the Rome Declaration signed on 20th January 2020 in Rome Italy. However, it reserves the right to self-defense,” the statement added.