JUBA – The commissioner of Mayom County of South Sudan’s Unity State, James Chuol Gatluak, has been burned to death during fighting at County headquarters in Mayom town on Friday morning, according to a senior state government official.
Speaking to Sudans Post this morning, the senior government official who requested not to be named confirmed fighting in Mayom leading to the killing of the commissioner, but said state authorities haven’t yet received official details as to how the violence begun leading to the commissioner’s death started.
“We have confirmed that on the ground,” he said on the killing of the commissioner.
“But we are waiting for official reports because we haven’t yet been told about the reasons by county authorities that led to the fighting. So, I will not say anything now. I will wait until the government gathers all the details about this war,” he added.
In a statement, the chairman and commander in chief of South Sudan People’s Movement (SSPM/A) and former SSPDF 4th Infantry Division Commander, Gen. Stephen Buay Rolnyang, claimed responsibility and said his forces captured Mayom during early hours of Friday to retaliate after an attack on their positions by the commissioner and Gen. Ruay Tap, the incumbent 4th infantry division of SSPDF.
“Major General Kerubino Ruay Tap, the SSPDF Commander of 4th infantry Division came to Mayom town, unity state last week with intention to clear Mayom area of the SSPM/A forces and launched an attack on SSPM/A forces at Bong on 21/7/2022, killing one SSPA soldier,” Buay said in the statement extended to Sudans Post.
“The SSPM/A forces retaliated immediately by attacking and capturing Mayom this morning on 22/7/2022, around 03:00 AM,” he added.
When contacted by Sudans Post, Gen. Buay separately confirmed that his forces are behind the killing of the commissioner, but said no civilian was killed during the three-hour operation.
“He was with Division 4 Commander and was targeted after they attacked us. No civilian casualties. Those who were killed and wounded in Mayom fighting were soldiers,” he added.
He said his forces have been ordered “to withdraw from Mayom town to nearby villages where they shall be re-organized and conduct similar operations against military objectives, regime pro-militias and regime installations in Western Upper Nile (Unity state) and part of Warrap, Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Raja.”
“As part of our rule of engagement, the SSPM/SSPA shall be committed to minimize unnecessary suffering of civilians and other non-combatants including religious people, correspondents, local and international NGOS and foreign nationals,” he added.
Chuol is the elder brother of presidential security advisor Tutkew Gatluak and he was appointed to the position in 2021 when President Salva Kiir reconstituted Unity State government as part of the revitalized peace agreement.