JUBA – Heavy fighting erupted on Monday morning between SPLA-IO factions in northern Upper Nile state’s Magenis with General Simon Gatwech Dual’s Kitgwang faction accusing forces loyal to First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny of launching an attack on their base in two directions.
Speaking to Sudans Post this afternoon, Brigadier General William Gatjiath Deng said SPLA-IO forces allied to Machar and commanded by Major-General Parjiek Tong and General Malual Biel attempted to take over Magenis by attacking the holdout opposition base in two directions.
“This morning, at around 7:00 AM South Sudan local time, forces of the former Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) Dr. Riek Machar attacked Magenis in two directions in an attempt to displace us and continue their anti-peace activities,” Gatjiath who said he is in Magenis told Sudans Post on phone on Monday afternoon.
The senior opposition official denied social media rumors that the Machar-allied forces have taken control of Magenis and said the attacking forces have been repulsed and that fighting was still going on at the time of the interview saying they opposition forces led by the two Machar-allied commanders were still being pursued.
“As I am talking to you now, their forces are being defeated. The fighting is still going on because they are being pursued. The propaganda that a senior SPLA-IO general has been killed from our side on social media and the propaganda that they have captured the town is false, we are still after them now,” he added.
General Gatjiath further described the fighting as “deadly” saying a number of soldiers from the two sides have been killed, but said their “casualties are fewer that the enemy’s.”
SPLA-IO spokesman in Juba Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel did not respond to a Sudans Post request for comment immediately.