JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition group, SPLA-IO, has accused the government of attacking and capturing its military base near Upper Nile state’s Nasir county, according to a statement extended to Sudans Post.
Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLA-IO deputy military spokesman said in the statement that government forces on Monday attacked its base at Ketbek, a village outside Nasir town, before the opposition forces fled the area in what the group said is to respect the revitalized peace agreement.
“On Monday, 15th March, 2021, the SPLA-IO defensive position of Ketbek in Nasir surprisingly came under aggressive attack from some anti peace elements within the SSPDF base in Nasir. They burned down ketbek base to ashes making the SPLA-IO to tactically withdraw to Pananyang in respect of the R-ARCSS,” the statement said.
Sudans Post reported on Monday that clashes were taking place between the SPLA-IO and the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) following clashes between the SSPDF and civilians who were heading to Nasir before they came under fire from government soldiers.
In the statement, Lam said the SPLA-IO was aware of the fighting between SSPDF forces and civilians, but said it was wonder why the government forces attacked its base distancing itself from the fighting.
“The SPLA-IO is aware of the start of the clashes between the SSPDF and civilians in Koat on Sunday 14th March, 2021 where they also burnt civilian’s houses and destroyed other properties,” it said.
“The SPLA-IO would like to make it clear that its forces in Ketbek didn’t start or influenced the fight in Koat but wonders why its base was attacked and destroyed at this time when majority of the suffering South Sudanese want peace,” it added.
While acknowledging that the SSPDF command in Bilpam is making efforts to investigate the incident, the SPLA-IO spokesman urged peace monitors to investigate the incident and reiterated the group’s commitment to the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.
“The SPLA-IO acknowledged the effort from the SSPDF high command to bring those responsible for the violations in Ketbek to account; however, its calling upon the JDB, CTSAMVM and UNMISS to investigate this violation as mandated by the R-ARCSS,” he said.
“The SPLA-IO remains committed to the implementation of the Security Arrangement and reserve the right to self defense when aggressed,” he added.
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