South Sudan army on Tuesday claimed that ongoing gun violence in southern parts of the oil-rich Unity State is a result of infighting within the military wing of the main armed opposition Sudan People's Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
JUBA – South Sudan army on Tuesday claimed that ongoing gun violence in southern parts of the oil-rich Unity State is a result of infighting within the military wing of the main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
Since last week, fighting has been raging on in counties of Leer and Mayendit where forces loyal to Koch County Commissioner Koang Biel, as well as his Mayendit County counterpart Gatluak Nyang have been accused of committing atrocities against innocent civilians.
Fighting between different SPLA-IO factions has been taking place in Upper Nile state since the defection of General Simon Gatwech Dual from Machar. But the latest fighting in Unity State’s southern parts is between Koch county commissioners and his Mayendit County counterparts on one side, and armed youth from Leer County.
Speaking to Sudans Post this afternoon, SPLA-IO spokesman General Lul Ruai Koang said South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) was not involved in the fighting and blamed SPLA-IO infighting for the death of hundreds of civilians.
“The clashes are happening in areas either under the control of Kit-Gwang or the SPLA-IO; we are not involved because we don’t have present in those areas,” Gen. Koang told Sudans Post this morning.
He said the fighting started within the SPLA-IO control area in Koch County.
“The fighting is happening in the areas that are under the control of the SPLA-IO. You know very well Mir-Mir cantonment area was initially controlled by the SPLA-IO and there was a split last year within the ranks and the fills of the SPLA-IO,” he said.
He disclosed that the break-away faction SPLM/A-IO under Simon Gatwech Dual has been backed up by armed youth.
“So this Kit-Gwang group is the one being supported by armed youth from Koch and Mayendit counties, they are supporting Kit-Gwang group and the armed youth from Leer and Panyijiar counties are supporting SPLA-IO,” Gen. Ruai said.
When contacted by Sudans Post, SPLA-IO spokesman Col. Lam Paul Gabriel refused to comment on the violence.
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