JUBA – Tensions are running high in South Sudan’s central Equatoria states as National Salvation Front (NAS) defectors belonging to General Thomas Cirilo Swaka disrupt a camp belonging to the holdout opposition group.
This comes at a time when reports that NAS was preparing to conduct series of attacks against the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) and South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), are making the headlines.
A memo, which was published by the South Sudan News Agency claims the NAS has outlined its attack techniques against parties to the September 2018 revitalized peace deal.
“This memo serves as a directive to all SPLA-IO and SSPDF divisions stationed near or around Eastern Equatoria State to stand ready. It is clear NAS is working against the stability of the country. NAS must choose between peace and war,” the memo says.
The vaguely written document falls short of details. However, a senior officer at the military headquarters, Bilpham, disclosed that NAS has in early April decided to use a military option to pursue its objective.
The National Salvation Front launched a surprise attack on SPLA-IO on April 26, killing at least one and wounded three others. The SPLA-IO then responded by attacking NAS positions, forcing them to temporarily abandon their outposts.
Many South Sudan’s observers have in the past warned sidelining the National Salvation Front could jeopardize the implementation of peace. But the two main peace partners, SSPDF and SPLA-IO vowed in January last year that they wanted the NAS to be part of peace and threatened to crush the rebel movement if it resorts to violence.